The JEP reports the finding of at least 71 ‘false positives’ in a cemetery in northern Colombia


The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of Colombia has reported this Tuesday the finding so far of 71 ‘false positives’, civilians killed by the military to be presented as killed guerrillas, in a cemetery in the municipality of Dabeiba, in the department of Antioquia, since the exhumation tasks began in December of the previous year in this region.

According to the legal information handled by the JEP, the 71 bodies found correspond to victims of executions and extrajudicial killings, as well as forced disappearances.

The excavation of the bodies began in December 2019, the month in which 17 bodies were found. In February of the following year, another 37 were found. The works had to be postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, but already this month another 17 bodies have been discovered, according to the Colombian newspaper ‘El Tiempo’.

The forensic team, led by magistrate Alejandro Ramelli, has reported that many of these bodies have been found in black body bags, with firearm wounds, wounds, lacerations, and even some of the victims were tied hands and feet .

In some other cases, they detail, there are indications that autopsies were performed on the murdered before they were buried. About these events that occurred in Dabeiba have already offered a statement to the JEP about fifteen Colombian law enforcement agents.

The authorities have already carried out DNA tests on more than a hundred members of the Embera indigenous community, who continue to search for the whereabouts of their relatives.

Some of these people have finally managed to bury their dead with dignity. This is the case of the family of the 23-year-old farmer, Edison Lezcano Hurtado, murdered by the Colombian Army in 2002, whose body was delivered to them on February 17, 2020.

This specific case has been recognized by the Council of State itself as a ‘false positive’, after a resolution of August 2012 made it known, noting that there is no evidence that Hurtado was part of the then still active Armed Forces Revolutionaries of Colombia (FARC), today dissolved, “nor that he had activated any weapon against the military”, who detained him “when he was at home.”

The JEP has reported that so far the remains of half a dozen of these victims have been able to be delivered to their families.

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