After presenting the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo said that the High Command of the Armed Forces “should not have complied with Supreme Decree 4078, which empowered – to put in power an unconstitutional government – use violence to suppress ”.
He stated that the supreme decree produced an entire plan of repression that resulted in the deaths of Sacaba and Senkata, “what he calls a more serious massacre than extrajudicial summary executions.”
In an interview with Los Tiempos and Grupo Centro’s A midmorning program, the defense minister said that, as a “universal principle of justice in criminal law, killing a person in accordance with overriding orders is not justified. Wrong orders will not be fulfilled, they should not be fulfilled.
With regard to the role of the armed forces during the 2019 conflict, the GIEI assesses the repression against demonstrating groups as “disproportionate”, since the institution has to reserve the right to situations of extreme severity and intense lack of control of order during armed conflicts and points out that social protest situations cannot be viewed as “high risk” or as armed conflict.
He assured that the military intervention in the protests was not justified despite the excessive demands of the police.
“The state must restrict the use of the armed forces in internal security (…). The armed forces have a duty to respect and cooperate with investigations into the system, ”the report added.
Against this background, the Defense Minister describes those who have behaved badly as “bad soldiers”, “Unpatriots who have shot at their people have the right to defend themselves, they have the means to defend themselves.” What you need to see is due process, you need to see these processes are within the law. I think deep down there is a message from these bad soldiers who, in a certain way, want to get the armed forces into another coup, and that can’t happen.
By July, the judiciary had placed 12 military chiefs in preventive detention for the events that marked the political crisis of 2019.
Report cannot be used as evidence
Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo stated that the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) was of great value as it gave “absolute certainty, clarity and knowledge” about the events of 2019, but that it could not be used as evidence.
“We have to understand that from this report we have the possibility, with absolute certainty, clarity and knowledge, of what has happened all this time. That is why this report is so important, because it is now a reference that shows the material truth of the events that have occurred during this time of crisis, that is why the report is of great value, “he said.
Likewise, Novillo said the GIEI indicated that the report “cannot be used as evidence” but rather as “guidance, a guide to the verified facts, which have been verified on the basis of much of the material they have compiled. It must be essentially for “knowing what happened”.
Regarding the GIEI’s comments on the prosecution, national police and armed forces, he made particular reference to the resignation of the armed forces commander-general, Williams Kaliman, although he said it may have been pressurized.