In exchange for amnesty, a military commander in Colombia confesses to covering up the killing of civilians and asks their families for forgiveness.
Alexander Castro’s fight for justice began in 2006, when Colombian soldiers executed his uncle and younger brother. The soldiers claimed they’d killed two guerilla fighters, but it took Alexander more than a decade to prove what he suspected from the beginning: his relatives were framed as armed fighters, a widespread practice among Colombian soldiers that is only now coming to light.
In the mid-2000’s, Colombia sought to prove it was finally winning its long-running war against the country’s guerilla insurgency.
Top brass pressured ground troops to increase the number of guerilla fighters killed in action -- at all costs. Soldiers who delivered the highest body counts were rewarded with bonuses, promotions, free vacations, and other perks. In 2022, Colombia’s truth commission revealed the full toll of the killings: soldiers executed at least 6,402 civilians between 2002 and 2008. Now, as a result of Colombia’s historic 2016 peace deal, military officials responsible for these atrocities can qualify for amnesty in exchange for truthful testimony about their war crimes.
Fault Lines captures a meeting between Alexander Castro and the colonel responsible for the deaths of 53 civilians, including his uncle and brother.