Colombai’s Prosecutor General’s Office has charged 12 major paramilitary bosses with around 15,000 victims of a collection of war crimes and other criminal acts before they are set free in June, reported weekly Semana.
After seven years of careful investigations during the so-called Justice and Peace process which has brought a lack of official condemnations so far, prosecutors compiled a dozen major cases—also called “cases of connotation”— which are crimes that are particularly notable or of public importance, such as massacres and selective killings, against the paramilitary bosses and a number of their lieutenants.
This does not mean that in all the cases that the commanders are responsible for have been prioritized. Only those that coincide with sexual violence, illegal recruitment and disappearances, and forced displacement, and others and where there is sufficient evidence for the charges are applied.
Several of the charged paramilitary members have previously been extradited to the United States even though their judicial processes continues in Colombia.
From this June, however, a number paramilitary leaders who are imprisoned in Colombia will begin to be set free when their alternative sentence of 8 years— provided by Justice and Peace process—is completed, but only if they have met the requirements to contribute confessions truth, deliver property and repay their victims economically.
With prioritization, however, the justice system looks arrive at a sentence before that the June deadline arrives.
This would not prevent the paramilitary leaders from walking out of prison, but it would send a needed signal that the Justice and Peace process, widely criticized for only having produced only a handful of convictions in seven years, begins to work.
Victims of paramilitary leaders
- Los grandes crímenes de los jefes paramilitares (Semana)
- Fiscalía registra 1.508 víctimas de alias ‘Don Berna’ (El Espectador)