A Commission of the Colombian Senate promotes two soldiers identified for alleged executions of civilians | International

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Exhumation of alleged victims of extrajudicial executions in the Dabeiba cemetery, in the department of Antioquia. JEP

As happened in 2019 when the rise of Colombian military personnel reported to have allegedly participated in extrajudicial executions was alerted, the Second Commission of the Senate of Colombia validated the promotion of two officers despite the fact that, according to the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) , "Could have links to possible cases of false positives." This is how the murders of civilians are known to pass off as guerrillas killed in combat. The alert, which was dismissed by congressmen – and made on Monday by Jose Miguel Vivanco, HRW director for the Americas – focuses on Generals Marcos Evangelista Pinto and Édgar Alberto Rodríguez.

Between October 2006 and April 2007, Pinto commanded the Anastasio Girardot battalion, of the fourth brigade, which was linked by the Prosecutor's Office to 45 alleged executions of civilians during those years. Later, between December 2007 and September 2009, that soldier was in command of the Magdalena battalion, where the Prosecutor's Office also investigates 18 alleged executions.

One of the emblematic cases was the murder of peasant Ever Urquina Rojas, which occurred on January 18, 2008. “General Pinto certified a payment of 1.5 million pesos (equivalent to about 400 dollars at today's exchange rate) to a informant for this operation. But the Prosecutor's Office concluded that the informant did not give any information, ”Vivanco denounced. Later, Pinto was questioned about the role he played when he was in charge of the Magdalena battalion.

The other promotion that several congressmen from the opposition parties to the government of Iván Duque warned about is that of General Édgar Alberto Rodríguez Sánchez, who commanded the Magdalena Battalion between July 2006 and December 2007, a period of time during which, According to investigations by the Prosecutor's Office, 32 alleged extrajudicial executions were committed.

During the session in Congress, opposition senators such as Iván Cepeda or Feliciano Valencia left the premises while the Commission approved these promotions en bloc along with the other officers. At the same time, senators from the party that supports the government, the Democratic Center, defended the officers on the grounds that they were not formally linked to investigations. However, the promotions are not yet formalized. There are still three debates in Congress to confirm the rise of the military that promises controversy.

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