A meeting for the truth about extrajudicial killings in Soacha

Today, May 10, the Truth Commission, with the support of the Special Justice for Peace, will carry out in Soacha the event: ‘Encounter for the Truth: Acknowledgment of responsibilities regarding extrajudicial killings in Bogotá and Soacha’, with the participation of several organizations of mothers and relatives who are victims of this crime. This event will also have the contribution of María Ubilerma Sanabria, a member of the Swedish Collaborative Network in support of the Commission, and the mother of Jaime Estiven Valencia, who was kidnapped and murdered by members of the Colombian army in 2008.

“Jaime Estiven was tortured, executed, thrown into a mass grave in Ocaña, Norte de Santander and presented as a guerrilla member dead in combat by the 15th Mobile Brigade of the Colombian Armed Forces in 2008. He was only 16 years old”.

The extrajudicial killings, known as “false positives”, were assassinations of civilians performed by state agents to present them as members of armed groups who died in combat and thus show the results of their military operations. This phenomenon has left an open wound in Colombian society and a shameful imprint on the public force, whose mission was to protect citizens and respect the constitution, laws and International Humanitarian Law.

This meeting results from the efforts that the Commission has been carrying out for two years to promote actions for the recognition and dignity of the victims and the construction of a broad story, together with mothers and victims of this phenomenon. As a result of this process, the victims have spoken with those responsible for these crimes in three private conversations and at least 18 preparatory meetings. In addition, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has found concrete evidence of 6,402 cases of extrajudicial executions in 31 of the 32 departments of Colombia.

It is essential to recognize the individual and collective responsibilities regarding extrajudicial killings. Hence, this event has the objective of dignifying those who were stigmatized, to the mothers and relatives who travelled the country, those who were disregarded at first about the disappearance of their loved ones, and those who, like María Ubilerma, were forced into exile due to their commitment to finding the truth. In her words,

“The recognition of the brigade members is an important step in the search for the truth for us mothers. However, the world needs to have clarity and condemn those who gave the order.”

  • Watch the event here: