The soldier is investigated for his alleged participation in two murders of civilians who were not part of the armed conflict and were presented as “casualties in combat” by the Army, misnamed “false positives”, which occurred on March 6, 2007 in Aguazul.
The defense of General Torres Escalante requested the magistrates, in December of last year, to revoke the measure of assurance against them, ensuring that they complied with the requirements that the JEP imposes for those who take refuge.
However, this jurisdiction denied him at that time the benefit of freedom, because although he complied with most of the legal parameters, he lacked one: having been deprived of his liberty for at least five years.
In spite of this, the lawyer of the general (r) Torres Escalante, Jaime Granados, appealed the decision and in the second instance the benefit was granted. Why? The Appeals Section made an interpretation of the rule established by the Constitutional Court, which stipulates that members of the public force housed in the JEP could be free while their case is being resolved, if they have served that time of deprivation of freedom.
Although the Section agrees with the rule, since the military, as guarantors of human rights, “defrauded their constitutional mandate and the trust that society placed in them” in committing these crimes, they also considered that it could be modified “provided when they make contributions of truth that are early, extraordinary and exhaustive .
” For that reason, the decision was made, according to the magistrates, “in order to guarantee the symmetrical, equitable, balanced and differentiated treatment between the parties to the conflict.”
The Section stated that this benefit can now be requested when there is at least one year of deprivation of liberty, as provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure. In addition, the magistrates determined that, when cases of extraordinary, exhaustive and early contributions of truth occur , those who are welcomed also have “the possibility of accessing a priority process in the JEP to promptly and definitively resolve their legal situation.”
Torres Escalante joined the JEP in July 2017, arguing that there were no guarantees in ordinary justice to defend his innocence. A year later before that special justice he attended a first hearing in which he announced his commitment to contribute to the truth and signed the deed of submission.
Currently, he is being held in a Military Unit, fulfilling an assurance measure, ordered in his trial in the ordinary courts for cases of extrajudicial executions of Casanare. According to the complaint, soldiers assigned to the Sixth Division of the National Army, the 16th Brigade, commanded by Torres Escalante, allegedly presented the victims as members of the ELN killed in combat.
The victims were Daniel and Roque Julio Torres , father and son. According to the investigations of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Sub-Lieutenant Marco Fabián Garcia Cespedes , who led the operation, learned that after the extrajudicial execution of Daniel and Roque Julio Torres.
Lieutenant García put weapons in the hands of the deceased and made them shoot, while ordering to operate an M-60 machine gun and an MGL grenade launcher to simulate a combat.
However, through his lawyer, General (r) Torres has insisted that he was “neither doctrinaire nor statutorily responsible for planning operations, validating or verifying intelligence information, determining the type, providing logistical support, pay rewards, or determine criminal or disciplinary sanctions against the Delta 6 group. ” That is, there was a whole body of command and he was not the only one who made all the decisions.