Colombia Peace Court Charges Farc Leader Kidnapped

2021-01-28   |   by CusiGO

Colombia, a society trying to turn the page on violence without concealing the truth, is approaching the first substantive judicial decision on its armed conflict in more than half a century. Four years after the signing of the peace agreement, the transitional court, which deals with the most serious crimes during the war, has taken unprecedented steps to attribute a series of kidnapping related crimes to the leaders of the defunct guerrillas of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, One of his most cruel and hateful practices.

The peace special jurisdiction recognition chamber has charged eight former members of the Secretariat with war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the deprivation of civilian and military freedom, known as the highest authority of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, Today, they are unarmed and have become a representative party in Congress. The defendants include Rodrigo Londo ó o, “timochenko,” the party recently renamed “ordinary people,” and Julian Gallo, known as Carlos Antonio lozada and Pablo catatumbo, who occupy two of the group’s 10 seats under the agreement. And pastor alape, Rodrigo Granda, Joaquin Gomez, Jamie Alberto Parra, “the doctor” and bertolfo Alvarez, who died of cancer on Wednesday.

The transitional system resulting from the Havana dialogue emphasizes the full truth and provides for alternatives to imprisonment for ex combatants in exchange for their confession and compensation for the victims. The defendants now have 30 days to accept or deny their responsibility. If the charges are accepted, they will be sentenced to a restorative penalty of five to eight years, excluding imprisonment; if the charges are not accepted, the time will be extended and the case will be transferred to the investigation and prosecution unit, with a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The 322 page devastating charge (known in the system as the fact and conduct investigation order) records the suffering of the kidnapping victim and occurred in case No. 01, which involved hostage taking and serious deprivation of liberty by farc-pa, This is the most advanced of the seven major cases heard by the peace tribunal so far. This is the result of an analysis of a large amount of material, including a comparison of reports submitted by the prosecutor’s office and organizations with the version of ex combatants and the comments of more than 1000 recognized victims.

The document points out that between 1982 and 2012, guerrilla kidnapping on a large scale for at least 30 years resulted in more than 21000 victims – despite admitting a serious lack of registration. One in 10 abductees never went home, 2.9% were killed and 8.7% were missing. The order signed by judge Julieta Lemaitre described the practice as “a policy that makes human beings valuable not in human dignity, but in the exchange value of the money they have and are able to report to armed groups.”.

He also pointed out that the treatment of detained soldiers and police by the rebels violated human dignity. Former accomplices are accused of jointly committing hostage taking, deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearance and murder, as well as torture, cruel treatment and sexual violence as part of their command responsibilities.

In the large-scale practice of extortion kidnapping, in a society ravaged by all kinds of violence, uniforms and long-term imprisonment of politicians (such as Ingrid Bettencourt) are one of the most notorious and infamous crimes of FARC. The government of Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) strengthened this strategy, and during Alvaro Uribe’s two terms (2002-2010), the families of the kidnapped kept pressing the Administration for an unfulfilled humanitarian agreement. In the words of Luis Eladio P é rez, “these conditions are absolutely inhumane,” including “unspeakable physical and emotional suffering,” one of the politicians who spent many years in the jungle and testified to the transitional judiciary. The army was imprisoned for 14 years.

After several frictions with the victims involved in the process, the former Secretariat sent an open letter last September asking for forgiveness. “Kidnapping has only left deep wounds to the souls of the victims and fatally damaged our legitimacy and credibility,” they admitted. “Today, we understand the pain we bring to many families, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, siblings and friends who live in hell, waiting for news from their loved ones.”

This is the first major achievement of the justice and Equality Movement, which is seen as a pillar of the peace agreement. The court has been forced to navigate the polarization of Colombian society since the negotiations and is moving forward despite the enormous obstacles and the coronavirus epidemic. Another more advanced macro case is false positives, a well-known euphemism for thousands of extrajudicial executions, or “deaths illegally reported as combat casualties of state personnel”, as defined in case No. 03.

Together with the truth commission and the search for reported missing persons unit, they have formed a comprehensive system of truth, justice, compensation and non duplication, which is strongly supported by the international community. However, the system has been the target of former President Alvaro Uribe, President Ivan Duke’s political mentor, who insisted on Abolishing JEP and amending the agreement. The Duke himself raised an objection to JEP in 2019, but failed miserably in Congress. “JEM has taken an important step in consolidating peace in Colombia. Former president Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018), the head of state who signed the peace agreement with London at the end of 2016, said: “this is also a historical precedent for transitional justice and the resolution of world armed conflicts.”.