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Colombia Concerned Transitional Justice Could be Used for Political Persecution

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Jan 19, 2017, 6:23 pm
Colombia's top prosecutor has raised concerns over various aspects of Colombia's landmark transitional justice agreement (
Colombia’s top prosecutor has raised concerns over various aspects of Colombia’s landmark transitional justice agreement (Flickr).

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The Colombian Congress is already debating the legislative act which paved the way for the creation of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), an entity through which transitional justice will be implemented within the framework of the agreements between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The entity was already approved in the first round of debate, however Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martínez has publicly expressed concerns.

Martinez believes that the JEP project could provide a way for Colombia’s ex-presidents to be tried under its auspices, rather than by the Commission of Accusations of the House of Representatives as is current legal practice. This development has not only worried the country’s top prosecutor, but also the members of the Democratic Center Party, who see it as a means of possible political persecution of its leader, former President Álvaro Uribe.

In addition, Martínez alleged that it is not clear whether the JEP will also have the capacity to try ex-presidents for acts committed before or after their governments, so he requested clarity on this issue, in order to avoid a potential legal “gray area.”

He also called into question the fact that there is no extradition for members of the FARC. He believes that this mechanism is a form of international cooperation, and that prohibiting its use could generate impunity for the crimes committed by the guerrilla movement against the United States and other countries.

That is why he proposed that only those who decided to formally participate in the Santos-FARC agreement receive the benefits thereof. Guerrillas who were amnestied, but declared themselves in opposition to the agreement and continued with drug trafficking activities and other illegal activities, will not enjoy the legal provisions provided for those who seek reintegration into society.

Finally, the prosecutor was clear in stating that only those who committed crimes before D-Day, that is, on December 1, 2016, will have benefits, since that day formally initiated the implementation of the agreement. Those who have committed crimes after this date, will be held responsible for their actions by the Colombian judiciary system.

Source: El Espectador

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.