Colombia’s Congress Debates Censuring Defense Minister Over Army Kill Orders

MEDELLÍN, Colombia — Colombia’s House of Representatives opened a debate on Monday to censure the country’s defense minister, amid national criticism that the military had issued orders this year encouraging human rights abuses.

The hearing to discipline the minister, Guillermo Botero, came three weeks after The New York Times revealed new orders instructing top army commanders to “double the results” of their military missions against guerrilla, paramilitary and criminal groups.

The orders sent a chill down the ranks of the military, and some senior commanders said the pressure to carry out attacks would mean high civilian casualties and had already led to suspicious deaths.

As many as 5,000 illegal killings occurred in the mid-2000s under similar circumstances, known today as the “false-positive” executions.

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