Mass Grave Update

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 18 December 2010

Human Rights organisations in the region of Meta have announced that many of the 1505 unidentified bodies found in 3 mass graves just in one region of Colombia are likely to be victims of the armed forces, as with the mass grave discovered in December 2009 next to an army base in La Macarena, the largest such grave ever found in the Americas.

On December 16th Senator Gloria Ramirez and her colleague Congressman Ivan Cepeda accompanied officials of the Attorney General’s office to the legal investigation which exhumed 66 bodies from one of the new-found mass graves in Granada, Meta.

The Colombian government has said that the bodies it contains are those of guerrillas killed in combat with the armed forces, the same as was said about the grave in La Macarena, which was then found to contain the bodies of civilians disappeared and then killed by the armed forces according to denunciations made during the public human rights hearing held in La Macarena in July 2010.

Many of the bodies exhumed were of minors, possibly killed in air force bombings of the area, or victims of false positives (where troops kill civilians and then dress their corpses as guerrillas, presenting them as rebels killed in combat) or of disappearances.

Ramiro Orjuela, a local human rights lawyer, questioned that if 1500 bodies were found in just one region of the country, how many might there be in the rest of Colombia? He believes that the scale of the graves indicates that responsibility - either through actions, connivance or omission - may go all the way to the top of the armed forces and even to former president Alvaro Uribe.



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