Former Colombian Army Colonel Luis Fernando Borja confessed to 50 extrajudicial killings, known as “false positives,” reported local media Tuesday.
Borja’s admission was part of his confession to the 2008 murder of Edwin Jose Payares. Borja received a 19-year prison sentence for the murder.
False positive refers to the Colombian Armed Forces practice of falsely reporting murdered civilians as guerrillas in order to cover up criminal activity and increase combat kill rates.
Borja assumed command of the Sucre Joint Task Force in 2007. According to the Prosecutor General, soldiers under his command committed numerous murders and reported them as combat casualties.
In his confession Borja pointed to a systemic practice of false positives saying, “after two months in command [of Sucre Joint Task Force] I learned that some casualties in the years prior to my command and some that had occurred under me were “false positives.” I participated in this illegal operation, first because I prefer to keep my mouth shut – I feared for my life and that of my family- and secondly because I feared being fired from the army.”
This was the fifth false positives case Borja has been found guilty in. He was originally sentenced to a total of 200 years but will receive a reduced term of 97 years for his confession.