Colombia wants Victims Law as basis for compensation ordered by IACHR

Colombia asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to recognize the country’s Victims Law as the basis for reparations to victims ordered by the international body.

During the council of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Medellin last week, Vice Minister of Justice Miguel Samper asked the Court to use reparations provisos set in Colombia’s Victims Law as the basis for orders that the international body has directed against the State to repay victims of the armed conflict.

MORE: Inter-American Court of Human Rights comes to Medellin

“Honorable judges of the Inter-American Court, the backbone of our transitional justice model is the Victims and Land Restitution Law, it’s the integral reparation of all the victims of the armed conflict. For this reason, a backing from the Inter-American Court of our scheme of transition would be a fundamental advance in the consolidation of the road towards peace,” said the vice minister.

Samper added, “The recognition on the part of the Human Rights Court of the standards and the integrality of the reparation contained in the Victim’s Law permits us to encompass [politically] all of the armed conflict victims and not only those who are involved with the Justice and Peace [Law] or the Victims Law, but all that are involved in the System [Inter-American Court for Human Rights].”

According to a report from newspaper El Tiempo, Colombia has been ordered 13 times by the Inter-American Court to compensate victims, an amount reportedly totaling $24 million. The family of a victim of the 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, Meta reportedly received $1.6 million.

Colombia’s revised Victims Law allows victims of violence committed by left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and state officials after 1985 to claim a financial compensation between approximately $4,500 and $11,000. Former President Alvaro Uribe voiced concern that the inclusion of victims of state violence would make the execution of the law unaffordable.

BACKGROUND: Colombian law on victim compensation takes affect

During the summit in Medellin last week, the vice minister of justice also gave Colombia’s support to the IACHR in regards to the ongoing disagreement with member states, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua who are pushing for the Commission to prohibit any financing of the body from donors outside the region. The financial regulation, along with other proposed changes would, according to the IACHR, neutralize the work of the human rights watchdog.


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