Colombia’s foreign ministry tried to have a hearing before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) over the country’s war crimes tribunal canceled, but failed.
The president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP, Patricia Linares, who had requested the hearing, objected to the government’s attempts and wrote Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo to explain she wants to inform the international human rights body about the progress and delays in the consolidation of the transitional justice system.
The IACHR rejected Trujillo’s request to cancel the hearing on Monday, forcing the administration of President Ivan Duque to explain why have tried to limit the powers of the JEP on numerous occasions.
The JEP is controversial in Colombia because powerful political and economic backers of the government could end up in court and even in prison over the mass violation of human rights committed during the armed conflict between the state and the now-demobilized FARC guerrilla group.
According to Linares, the government was never able to cancel the hearing as the IACHR’s regulations “provide for the possibility of requesting such hearings to provide information of a general or particular nature relating to human rights.”
The JEP president said she sought the IACHR “with the aim of guaranteeing no impunity for crimes against humanity and war crimes.”
Trujillo had argued that the JEP is not allowed to request hearings because it is a state institution “with transitory jurisdictional functions that is not empowered to appeal to international bodies.”
The clash with the foreign ministry is only the latest in many between theJEP and powerful opponents of the transitional justice court that seeks to end decades of impunity that affects millions of victims of the armed conflict.
Duque, whose political patron Alvaro Uribe has been implicated numerous war crimes, vowed to amend the powers of the court ahead of his election last year.
But without a majority in Congress, the president has been relatively powerless to alter the 2016 peace deal that ended decades of armed conflict between the FARC and the state.