Justice deal with FARC is impunity pact, Colombia’s inspector general warns ICC

Alejandro Ordoñez (Image credit: Inspector General's Office)

A recently announced transitional justice agreement that part of a pending peace deal between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC “is a pact for impunity,” the country’s Inspector General denounced before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC. the country’s largest and oldest leftist rebel group, announced in December they had reach agreement on transitional justice.

This agreement shields convicted war criminals who have collaborated with justice from going to prison or be extradited.

According to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, this agreement “stimulates the repetition of atrocious crimes in the country and the surging of new victims.”

The leniency granted to war criminals “guarantees them impunity for past, present and future crimes,” Ordoñez said in his letter to the ICC, which has the authority to assume criminal investigations if it finds Colombia lacks the will or ability to adequately punish war criminals.

“What has been agreed between the Colombian government and the FARC established a complex framework of organs and procedures that in reality seek to subtract criminal liability” from justice, the inspector general said.

“The agreement does not comply with international justice standards,” Ordoñez warned, claiming the pact could violate article 17b of the Rome Statute.

This article dictates that a case can be referred to the ICC if it “has been investigated by a State which has jurisdiction over it and the State has decided not to prosecute the person concerned, unless the decision resulted from the unwillingness or inability of the State genuinely to prosecute.”

Human Rights Watch and victims have responded disappointedly to the Victims agreement that included transitional justice after this was omitted from the initial agreement to talk.

The government has defended the agreement, claiming that some justice must be sacrifices in order to obtain peace.

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