Following Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon’s warning that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could intervene if Colombia fails to administer justice to human rights violators, Colombia’s prosecutor general Guillermo Mendoza on Tuesday pointed out that the ICC has yet to convict a single person.
“We hope to see the application of Colombian processing and its effects in a reasonable time,” said Mendoza, adding that “to date the International Criminal Court itself has not handed down a single sentence and it already has been in force for five years.”
Mendoza was responding to Garzon’s comment that “there is a lack of the political and judicial coordination and resolve necessary to begin trials.” According to the Spaniard, victims had suffered too much without seeing results, and if the Colombian justice system doesn’t start to speed up and see results, the ICC will “obviously intervene.”
Outgoing Colombian Minister for Justice and the Interior Fabio Valencia Cossio said that “intervention by international justice occurs if the Colombia justice system doesn’t work and I don’t think that the Colombian justice system will accept that.”
Garzon is critical of Colombia’s Justice and Peace law, which came into force in 2005 and provides demobilized paramilitaries with reduced sentences if they make a full confession of their crimes. However, despite the participation of 4,600 demobilized paramilitaries and guerrillas, only two paramilitaries have been sentenced.
Even former paramilitary bosses have criticized the process, saying that the process is too slow and the victims’ right to the truth is being lost.