92% of over 26,000 former fighters of paramilitary organization AUC have registered with authorities and avoid jail sentences on terrorism charges.
The former paramilitaries were forced to notify the authorities of their wereabouts after a Constitutional Court ruling delegitimizing a deal made between the AUC and the administration of Alvaro Uribe that offered amnesty to fighters who were no suspect in human rights violations.
The ruling forced the government to decree special legislation to avoid that all former members of the AUC had to be prosecuted which, according to authorities would have made the country’s already clogged judicial system collapse.
The deadline for this registration passed Wednesday at midnight.
The case of each registered fighter will now individually be reviewed by a commission that decides whether the demobilized paramilitary should be prosecuted or not.
Prosecutors are now to file arrest warrents for all fighters who have not registered with authorities.
The AUC demobilized between 2003 and 2006. Its members were offered reduced prison sentences and other judicial benefits in exchange for their testimony, victim compensation and the promise not to take part in criminal activity. The “Justice and Peace Law,” designed to allow the demobilization and reintegration into society of the former paramilitaries has been widely criticized for not providing justice or peace as thousands of the former AUC members continued took part in the formation of neo-paramilitary groups like the Urabeños and ERPAC.