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Cable 141: Human Rights Reform and "False Positive" Murders in Colombia

Cable 141: Human Rights Reform and "False Positive" Murders in Colombia

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Published by Andres
This is a 2009 US embassy report on the attempted dismissal of Major General Carlos Suarez, the Inspector General of the Colombian Army. Maj. Gen. Saurez had led an investigation into the practice of "false positive" murders, which were extrajudicial killings made to look like casualties from combat between the Colombian Army and FARC.
This is a 2009 US embassy report on the attempted dismissal of Major General Carlos Suarez, the Inspector General of the Colombian Army. Maj. Gen. Saurez had led an investigation into the practice of "false positive" murders, which were extrajudicial killings made to look like casualties from combat between the Colombian Army and FARC.

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Published by: Andres on Apr 14, 2011
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07/17/2011

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R 171611Z NOV 09FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0935C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 003393SUBJECT: MOD OVERULES ARMY COMMANDER'S TRANSFER OFKEY HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL
REF: REF A: BOGOTA2629; REF B: BOGOTA2050CLASSIFIED BY: William R. Brownfield, Ambassador;REASON: 1.4(B), (D)
-------SUMMARY-------
¶1. (C) Minister of Defense (MOD) Gabriel SilvaLujan countermanded a transfer order from the armycommander that would have sent the reform-mindedarmy inspector general to the defense attache postin Chile -- and to an early retirement. Instead,Army Inspector General (IG) Major General CarlosSuarez, will be promoted to IG over all ofColombia's armed forces. Silva's move counteredArmy Commander Oscar Gonzalez Pena's obvious effortto frustrate the IG's investigations into "falsepositives" -- military murders presented as combatkills -- and is a positive indication that thenew MOD is willing to continue human rights reform.Despite a significant drop in "false positive"murders, Suarez expressed concern that the practicecould once again become common, as many high-level
 
commanders who had directly or tacitly supported itremained in high-level command positions in themilitary.
-----------------------------------------MOD OVERRULES ARMY COMMANDER, PROMOTES IG-----------------------------------------
¶2. (C) Following a conversation on November 6 inwhich the Ambassador expressed the USG's strongreservations over the transfer of IG Suarez, MODSilva told the Ambassador on November 12 that hehad countermanded Army Commander Oscar GonzalezPena's order to transfer to Chile Army InspectorGeneral Carlos Suarez, the official whoinvestigated the Soacha extrajudicial executions(EJEs) that led to the dismissal of 51 members ofthe Colombian Army. Instead, Silva promoted Suarezto serve as IG of the Armed Forces, reportingdirectly to him. (Note: The position normallyreports to Chief of Defense Freddy Padilla. It wasunclear whether the MOD intended to change the lineof command, though as IG of the Armed Forces Suarezwould have more regular access to Silva. Endnote.) Gonzalez Pena had ordered the IG totransfer effective November 9 to a four-monthspecial project prior to becoming military attacheto Chile in March 2010. Silva said he was pleasedwith Suarez' work as IG, and that he intended togive him carte blanche to be aggressive with theArmed Forces on human rights issues. Suarezexpressed satisfaction over his promotion and hisability to continue to address military crimes.
 
--------------------------------------------------ARMY COMMANDER LIMITS DISMISSALS, MILITARY JUSTICE"FROZEN"--------------------------------------------------
¶3. (C) In a meeting with Polcouns on November 6,Suarez attributed the surprise transfer to GonzalezPena's ongoing efforts to "paralyze" the IG'sapproximately 150 investigations into EJEs (REFA). Suarez said Gonzalez Pena had blockedapproximately 30 administrative dismissals throughhis influence on the two other officers who vote onSuarez' recommendations, Deputy Army CommanderGeneral Jorge Octavio Ardila and Army HumanResources Head General Javier Fernandez Leal.Suarez voiced doubts that Gonzalez Pena's pick toreplace him as Army IG, General Luis Felipe ParedesCadena, would demonstrate independence to promote"false positive" investigations. Suarez alsoquestioned the military justice system's ability toact autonomously in the current environment.Even though the military judges are ostensiblyindependent, Suarez said, the system is currently"frozen" and human rights cases are not beingtransferred to the ordinary justice system.
-------------------------------------FALSE POSITIVES DOWN, BUT COULD RECUR -------------------------------------
¶4. (C) Suarez confirmed a major drop in "false

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