A special peace tribunal investigating atrocities committed during Colombia’s conflict has charged 19 soldiers for the murder of 303 people between 2005 and 2008.
Aljazeera on Tuesday reports the murders happened as the military killed civilians and then presented them as fighters to try to inflate the effectiveness of their fight against rebels.
In return, the soldiers received special benefits such as help to gain promotion.
The tribunal’s magistrates said the soldiers belonged to the 16th Brigade, in which a criminal organisation killed and falsely presented civilians as fighters and criminals that had fallen in combat.
The accused must either accept or reject the charges in the coming weeks. If they confess and make reparations to their victims, they can avoid prison time. Otherwise, they face up to 20 years in jail.