Colombia studying special legislation for drug trafficking groups

Colombia’s Justice Ministry is studying the possibility of introducing new legislation aimed especially at members of drug trafficking organizations, W Radio reported Tuesday.

Following the official demobilization of the paramilitary organization AUC, thousands of the group’s members integrated into neo-paramilitary groups like “Los Urabeños,” “Los Paisas,” “Las Aguilas Negras” and “ERPAC.”

Members of these drug trafficking organizations do not enjoy legal benefits created for paramilitary fighters of the AUC or members of leftist guerrilla groups like the FARC and ELN for who the Colombian government is trying to establish a legal “framework for peace.”

According to Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra, members of the current drug trafficking organization face “ordinary legislation because what is clear is that for these criminals there will be zero ‘transitional justice’ as the so-called framework for peace refers specifically to illegal armed groups that have had a political connotation. These groups simply are criminal gangs.”

Nevertheless, the minister admitted that the government is looking into the possibility of creating new legislation if these groups decide to demobilize.

The December demobilization of neo-paramilitary group ERPAC became an embarrassment for the government and judicial authorities when only 17 of 284 demobilizing members were arrested. Following strong criticism, the Prosecutor General’s Office improvisingly charged all demobilized members with conspiracy, but was only able to arrest 35. The remaining 232 alleged neo-paramilitaries are still at large.

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