The Colombian government will meet Thursday to define regulations that will allow the judicial processing of demobilized former paramilitary fighters who cannot be processed for political crimes.
According to Caracol Radio, the decrees that will amend Law 1424 will allow the formation of a special unit of the Prosecutor General’s Office, in which the nearly 20,000 low-level ex-paramilitary soldiers can be processed for conspiracy to commit crimes, use of illegal uniforms, transmitters and receptors and illegal possession of weapons.
The special unit will be endowed with nearly $112 million (COP 200 billion) for its operations, which will increase the number of judges involved in processing the former paramilitary members.
Ex-paramilitaries who have not committed crimes against humanity will not be pardoned, as Vice President Angelino Garzon suggested last week, sparking a heated response from Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras, who denied that a pardon for members of criminal organizations was underway.
Nonetheless, those being processed will remain free while the investigation against them for common crimes progresses, unless it becomes apparent that they have committed crimes after demobilizing, in which case they will be expelled from the integration program.
According to President Juan Manuel Santos, “Law 1424 from 2010 seeks to fulfill the commitments to peace acquired by the national government and the demobilization of illegal armed groups, guaranteeing victims the reconstruction of historical memory and truth about the violent acts and the right to non-repetition.”