Posted by Travis Mannon on Oct 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Extradited paramilitaries should serve sentence in Colombia: OAS

Colombia news - baltazar garzon

Former paramilitary leaders who have been extradited to the U.S. should serve the remainder of their sentence in Colombia, a commission from the Organization of American States (OAS) proposed.

Colombian media reported that Judge Baltazar Garzon, who led the study on Colombia’s Justice and Peace Law, hopes that the two governments could reach an agreement to process the ex-paramilitary heads back to their home country.

The OAS also recommended other reforms to improve the effectiveness of the law.

Garzon suggested that Colombia implement a truth commission for the paramilitary leaders’ crimes, arguing that the government “should not wait for the conflict to end” before creating the commission.

The international organization also said that Colombia should prioritize prosecuting the most serious crimes.

Finally, they advised that the benefits of Justice and Peace Law should be provided to those who were known to have joined a paramilitary group before the law went into effect, but committed crimes afterwards.

The OAS warned Colombia’s Justice Ministry Thursday that paramilitary fighters who demobilized under the Justice and Peace Law will be released if not tried by 2014.

“By 2014, the majority of people nominated today for Justice and Peace will be released without having been convicted,” the OAS said in a letter to Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra.

The Justice and Peace law was designed to allow the demobilization of tens of thousands of members of right-wing death squads of the paramilitary AUC. The law offered the demobilized lower sentences in exchange for collaboration with justice and reparation to their victims.