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Published On: Thu, Aug 10th, 2017

Colombia’s Transitional Justice System received case files of 12,000 alleged military war criminals

nsnbc : Colombia’s Transitional Justice System, established as part of the peace agreement signed between the State and the FARC-EP, has received the case files of some 12,000 alleged military war criminals. This includes the files of some 4,500 jailed soldiers who have requested to be included in the Transitional Justice System.

paz_peace_colombia_farc_nov-2016If the files of the 4,500 currently imprisoned soldiers are accepted they would have the right to be released from prison while awaiting a new trial within the Transitional Justice System. The system was established as part of the peace accord signed between the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the now demobilized and disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). The system was approved by the Senate.

Colombia’s Defense Ministry has also sent another 7,494 case files of members of the military who have either been convicted or who are being investigated for war crimes charges, stated a press release issued by the Transitional Justice System. The Colombian State Council now has three weeks to begin releasing the 4,500 who requested to be released from prison while awaiting retrial.

However, there may be some delays as it is generally recognized that these are issues of immense complexity that require in-depth examination of individual cases and because the TJS is confronted with the cases of more than 4,000 extrajudicial executions carried out under the presidency of former President Alvaro Uribe. One of the issues complicating decisions in these cases is that these extrajudicial killings may have been qualified in different ways by prosecutors and judges within the ordinary justice system of Colombia. The office of the Executive Secretary of Colombia’s Transitional Justice System noted that:

“The changing jurisprudence and uncertain legislation is recognized as a factor of complexity by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. … The 15-day period established by the Council of State to analyze in depth the nexus of crimes with the internal armed conflict, to travel throughout the country to sign the subscribe the deeds and send out the corresponding communications is difficult to meet under the current conditions.”

The TJS was established earlier this year after it was adopted as part of the peace accord between the FACE-EP and the State and approved by the Senate. The TSJ is currently in the phase where Colombian judges and international assistant judges are being selected. The appointment of the judges has been scheduled for October after which the transitional justice tribunal and truth commission that are part of the transitional system can take force.

A/N & CH/L – nsnbc 10.08.2017

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