Human Rights group Amnesty International (AI) Monday condemned
Colombian legislation that seeks to find a legal solution for some
19,000 demobilized paramilitary fighters. AI claims 90 percent of these
fighters were never investigated.
The law, approved by Colombia’s Congress on Thursday, allows the Pprosecutor General to dismiss criminal investigations into a former member of demobilized paramilitary organization AUC if the fighter is not accused or suspected of any human rights violations, war crimes or drug related charges.
According to AI, 90 percent of these paramilitaries were never investigated for crimes against humanity and are now escaping prosecution, leaving their crimes unpunished.
“The failure to carry out even the
most rudimentary of investigations into the responsibility for human
rights violations of many of those benefiting from the new law means
that thousands of human rights abusers will evade justice, as will
those members of the security forces and those in politics and business
who were complicit in these abuses, while their victims will never know
the truth,” the human rights organization said in a press statement.
AI says Colombia is “failing in its obligation under
international law to investigate and, if there is sufficient admissible
evidence, to prosecute those allegedly responsible for serious human
rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, and to
provide full reparations to the victims and their relatives.”
The law was adopted by Congress to find a solution for the legal limbo the thousands of paramilitaries were in. The Supreme Court would not allow the fighters to be considered political delinquents, which, without additional legislation, would mean all 19,000 would be prosecuted according to common criminal law.
The Colombian government said prosecution under criminal law would be breaking a promise that allowed the AUC to demobilize and would block the country’s justice system.