Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol 1, No 1 (2011)

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Constructions of the Violent State: The case of Extrajudicial Executions of civilians by state military forces in Antioquia, Colombia

Sandra Milena Gómez Santamaría


This dissertation seeks to expose the relationships between State and Violence in the cases of extrajudicial executions that occurred massively during Álvaro Uribe’s Presidential tenure, showing how Democratic Security policy represents the framework of such legitimization. In this sense, it puts at stake the classical definitions of the State concerning the monopoly of the use of force by posing the following question at the center of the debate: Is it just the legal force what the State controls? For so doing, it will develop a case study of extrajudicial executions occurred in Eastern Antioquia region and then it will analyze the discourses given by different state agents in front of the cases, for showing the patterns for the creation of a combat scenario for the illegal killings and the official responses as denial discourses regarding the cases nationwide. Data have been collected from newspapers, magazines, reports from State agencies, NGOs and from Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. Both the above patterns as State responses show how legality is constructed and legitimized in violent ways in regarding extrajudicial executions cases in Colombia: by silencing the context, dealing with bodies and how they are got and counted, denying the facts, and denying the victims.

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