Colombia’s justice minister said on Tuesday that legislation regulating the demobilization of tens of thousands of paramilitary fighters last decade has failed to achieve its intended goal of securing truth, justice and reparation.
The so-called Justice and Peace law was set up in 2005 and was a legal framework brought in to help facilitate the demobilization of paramilitary groups in Colombia. The law set a generous prison sentence of 5-8 years for paramilitary members that confessed to their criminal activities.
Speaking to W Radio Tuesday, Justice Minister Alfonso Gomez said Colombia only knows “half-truths” of paramilitary crimes.
The minister added that the law “was not a model to repeat” as the relatively short prison sentence does not constitute justice for the “truly heinous atrocities” committed by the paramilitaries between 1997 and 2006.
Since the official demobilization of paramilitary forces between 2003 and 2006, stories have continued to come out regarding the atrocities of these groups.
Next month, Colombia will see one of the first beneficiaries of Justice and Peace, ex-paramilitary chief “Don Antonio,” walk free from prison as he finishes an 8 year sentence for kidnapping, torture, sexual abuse, forced displacement as well as his role in the killing of trade unionists, human rights defenders and displaced people in Northern Colombia.
The UN human rights commission records a total 170 offences attributed to Antonio, including 129 counts of homicide committed by the men he commanded.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos is currently engaged in peace talks with the FARC, Colombia’s largest and longest-living rebel group. In the event the warring parties come to agreement, more than 20,000 rebel fighters and activists are expected by the government to demobilize and enter reintegration programs.
- Gobierno reconoce que peligrosos paramilitares quedarán en libertad (W Radio)
- ‘Don Antonio’, libre en un mes (El Espectador)
- Los ‘paras’ que saldrán en 2014 (UN Human Rights Commission)
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