Moral Licensing and Impunity: Reflections on Colombian Security Sector Narratives


On March 18, 2019, I was doing fieldwork for my Ph.D. research at Colombia’s Escuela Superior de Guerra (Superior School of War), a military academy for training high-ranking officers. That day, The New York Times published an article in which some officers reported instructions to increase efforts to “secure peace” by stepping up attacks and doubling the number of criminals and militants killed, even if this implied weakening their procedures for preventing the killing of civilians. Concerned members of the Armed Forces feared that these initiatives would revive the logic that led to one of the Colombian Army’s most prominent scandals, the falsos positivos (false positives).

Alejandra Ortiz Ayala
Publication date: 
April 27, 2021
Publication type: 
Blog Entry