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Former Colombia leader asks pardon for army killings of civilians

Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday requested for forgiveness for the extrajudicial killings of 1000’s of individuals dedicated by the nation’s armed forces partly throughout his time as defence minister.

Santos, who in 2016 signed the peace take care of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which created the fee, testified to Colombia’s fact fee concerning the so-called “false positives” scandal, when troopers murdered civilians and registered them as fighters killed in fight to obtain rewards.

The nation’s transitional justice courtroom has stated no less than 6,402 individuals have been killed and falsely offered as rebels between 2002 and 2008, throughout the time period of ex-President Alvaro Uribe. Some victims teams allege the determine may very well be increased.

Colombia’s new President Ivan Duque greets outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota, Colombia on August 7, 2018 [File: Cesar Carrion/Courtesy of Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters]

Santos served as defence minister beneath Uribe for practically three years between 2006 and 2009 and was within the put up when the killings have been uncovered.

“The chapter of the false positives is one of the most painful moments I’ve had in my public life and is an indelible stain on the honour of the army,” stated Santos, including he regretted that moms misplaced kids to the observe throughout his time as minister.

Pressure to supply excessive kill counts, backed by Uribe, was responsible, he stated, and the army ought to ask forgiveness.

“This should never have happened,” Santos stated. “I recognise that and ask forgiveness from all the mothers and their families, victims of this horror, from the depths of my soul.”

Santos stated when he first heard rumours of the killings, he didn’t consider them.

Once it turned clear the rumours have been true, Santos stated he issued orders privileging demobilisations and captures over kills, modified protocols for dealing with fight deaths and modified standards for awarding medals.

The outcomes of an inner investigation left him surprised, Santos stated.

“I had perhaps never felt with such force a combination of anger and intense pain, with such deep sadness.”

Dozens of army officers have been faraway from their posts, he stated, and adjustments to protocol led to a precipitous descent in murders dedicated by the army.

The victims group False Positive Mothers of Colombia had earlier urged Santos to ask forgiveness.

“Today, we hope little from you. [Santos] tell the truth. Ask forgiveness from every mother whose children were taken away by Uribe, [Former Colombian National Army General Mario Montoya] and yourself. Today you can change history. For the memory of our children tell the truth,” the group tweeted.

Dozens of army officers have been detained and convicted of involvement within the killings.

The 2016 peace take care of the FARC fighters received Santos the Nobel Peace Prize and noticed some 13,000 FARC members demobilise.

FARC leaders additionally admitted in April to insurance policies of kidnappings they known as “unjustifiable”. Roughly 21,396 individuals have been kidnapped or taken hostage by the FARC between 1990 and 2015, in line with figures from the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a courtroom that oversees the peace course of between FARC and the Colombian state.

The JEP charged former FARC commanders with battle crimes in January.

The battle between the Colombian authorities and armed insurgent forces, together with FARC, lasted 50 years and left 260,000 useless and tens of millions displaced.

Ex-combatants of the disbanded FARC and social activists march to demand the federal government assure their proper to life and compliance with the 2016 peace settlement, in Bogota, Colombia, on November 1, 2020 [File: Fernando Vergara/AP Photo]

Santos is the third former president to contribute to the fee, whose mandate ends this 12 months.

It is unclear whether or not Uribe – who vehemently opposed the peace deal – will finally testify.

Right-wing President Ivan Duque who took workplace in 2018, has additionally been against the deal. Some FARC fighters have continued preventing the federal government, resulting in clashes and deaths, and imperilling the peace deal.

Ex-FARC commander and leader of the Comunes, the title the group adopted after it turned a political get together, despatched an open letter to the US Congress in March, asking for help to avoid wasting the peace plan.

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