According to a report published by the George Washington University´s non profit organization, the ‘body count’ scandal that shook Colombia in 2008 goes all the way back to links between the army and the paramilitary groups in the early 90´s.
The recent ‘false positive’ scandal in Colombia - extrajudicial killing of civilians to make them count as guerrillas casualties- has been brought to public attention once again. This time, a report by the National Security Archive, from George Washington
University, assures paramilitaries
and the army have been in involved for over 10 years in a tactic that intends to win the war by inflating body counts.
According to Michael Evans, investigator from the National Security Archive, these documents show how these actions have an institutional history withing the official government organizations. Evans hightlights five strategic points in the report that chronologically show with official documents the advance of the ‘false positives’.
U.S Ambassador Myles Frechette´s report in 1994 declared ‘body count mentalities’ to be a way in which Colombian Army officers seeked to advance through ranks.The same year, CIA reported death squad tactics in the Colombian Army that cooperated with paramilitary groups by killing civilians that interfered with their operation.
Later, in 1997, a Colombian Army colonel commented about a ‘body count syndrome’ in the army. He mentioned the human rights abuses that took place as soldiers tried to impress their superiors. Furthermore, he said that the colaboration with ilegal paramilitary groups had grown under Gen. Rito Alejo Del Río Rojas.
Finally, a document by the U.S Embassy in 2000 describes a false positives operation between the Colombian Army and the ACCU paramilitaries. In this operation, both the army and the paramilitary claimed to have killed two demobilized guerrillas.
For Evans, it is important for the C
olombian government to publish these documents and start a carefull investigation that will finally bring justice to the case.