Forty-six incarcerated ex-paramilitaries accused of homicide, forced disappearances, forced displacement, torture, sexual violence, and recruitment of minors are eligible for release from prison as of Friday, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Colombia’s Justice and Peace Law was enacted in 2006 to legally sustain a demobilization treaty between right-wing paramilitary group AUC and the government of former President Alvaro Uribe. In exchange for cooperating with the authorities and demobilizing, the AUC’s commanders and middle men received a pledge that no-one who came in as a result of the law would receive more than eight years in prison.
Friday August 15 marks eight years to the day since hundreds of demobilized paramilitaries who submitted themselves to authorities began their prison sentences.
This release comes after 36 Colombian and international human rights groups and peace advocates presented a document on July 15 expressing serious concerns over the disregard of victims’ rights in regards to the paramilitaries’ imminent release.
In the coming months and years, a large part of around 2,000 paramilitaries will be released from prison without having satisfied the rights to truth, justice, and reparation of at least 50,000 victims, and most of all women victims who are “terrified,” according to the report published by The Lawyer’s Collective Jose Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR).