The Prosecutor General’s (PG) office on Thursday refuted the latest report by Human Rights Watch, an international NGO which claimed insufficient action was being taken against those responsible for forced displacement and crimes against humanity.
The report focused on an investigation almost two years in the making regarding Colombia’s internally displaced population and warned that “if Colombia does not take further action to stop the [death threats, intimidation, and killing], the problem [facing Colombia’s displaced] is likely to get much worse.”
In a statement refuting these claims, the PG’s office gave a comprehensive report on its activities regarding Colombia’s internally displaced population, including ongoing investigations against 16 criminal groups and 242 commanders. According to the report, the PG’s office in 2013 to date has investigated 10,373 incidents involving 42,620 victims. It also states that requests have been made for the restitution of 149 rural properties.
Furthermore, the PG reports that in the period between 2011 and August 31 2013, 5,621 arrest warrants were granted of which 3,933 were remanded in custody and 1,312 were convicted.
But the office of the Prosecutor General argues that their high volume of cases, primarily a result of the new Forced Displacement Unit, established in November 2010 to focus on crimes of forced disappearance and forced displacement, means that not all cases can be investigated.To date, the office claim that they have dealt with 29,769 cases, stressing that their priority is to avoid impunity for those responsible for such crimes, adding that they seek “conclusive results.”
“With regard to the crime of forced displacement, we seek convincing results that match the targets of the land restitution process,” the report read.
Colombia is estimated to have between 4.9 and 5.5 million internally displaced persons. BBC estimate that in 2012 alone, 230,000 were forced to flee their homes as a result of the internal armed conflict.
- Fiscalía refuta a Human Rights Watch y niega impunidad en despojo de tierras y crimenes de lesa humanidad (Radio Santa Fe, contains full text of the report)