Colombian court rejects indictment of former army commander for extrajudicial killings
BOGOTA, Aug.31 (Reuters) – A Colombian court has rejected a decision by the attorney general’s office to indict a former army commander for his alleged responsibility in 104 extrajudicial killings because he lacks jurisdiction, a- he said on Tuesday.
In early August, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would file a complaint against retired General Mario Montoya, 72, in connection with a number of alleged false positive assassinations that took place from November 2007 to November 2008. . read more
Despite orders from the Defense Ministry and military command to prioritize captures, Montoya did not pass them on and continued to encourage combat deaths, the attorney general’s office previously said.
Montoya, who remains free, was commander of the Colombian army between 2006 and 2008. He submitted to Colombia’s Transitional Court of Justice (JEP) in 2018.
However, according to the District Court of the capital Bogota, while the attorney general’s office can investigate such crimes, the JEP is the only organization that can indict Montoya, the attorney general’s office said.
“In exercising their oversight function, the magistrate (…) decided that while the attorney general’s office can and should investigate such acts, bringing charges is exclusive to the JEP,” the office said. of the Attorney General in a press release.
Montoya has previously denied the charges he is accused of.
The false positives took place between 2002 and 2008, when soldiers murdered civilians and registered them as guerrillas killed in action to receive benefits.
The JEP says at least 6,402 people have been killed this way, but some victim groups say the numbers could be higher.
The JEP was created as part of a 2016 peace deal to prosecute former rebel members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and military leaders for alleged war crimes.
Under the regular justice system, Montoya could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison, but under the JEP, he could receive a sentence of five to eight years, which would not be served in prison.
Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler
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