Crimes are crimes, no matter who commits them

Colombia’s president Álvaro Uribe thinks that the victims of his country’s horrible violence cannot be treated the same way. Those who are victims of crimes commited by the army, the police or the intelligence service DAS do not have the same facilities to get repaired by the state as the victims of the left wing guerrillas or the right wing paramilitaries.Mr. Uribe expressed the view that militaries and policemen cannot be compared with terrorists, e.g. the guerrillas FARC or ELN and the new or still existing paramilitary groups, that are called emerging gangs in Colombia. That is a very strange and offensive point of view.

Unfortunately militaries and policemen have committed very serious crimes in Colombia. That doesn’t mean that the whole army or the complete police forces are bad. But elements within these forces are responsible for crimes against humanity or have committed them.

The most famous phenomenon is that of the so called false positives. Young poor people are recruited for jobs in other areas in the country. When they get there they are killed, dressed up as a guerrilla, put an arm into their hand and reported as killed in combat. The victims cannot demand a reparation of the state until the guilty persons have been trialed and condemned. That can last for years, if ever those persons are condemned. Victims of terrorists however don’t have to wait trial.

However painful crimes ommitted by army or police are for the Colombian government, it cannot make a difference between categories of victims. A crime is a crime, whoever commits it.


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