Colombia must not pay compensation to ‘false victims’: Prosecutor

Colombia’s Prosecutor General has called for the country’s Justice and Peace Law to be “shielded,” in light of fresh claims people are lying about human rights abuses to falsely get compensation.

Viviane Morales said “The facts that have been recorded in the last few months have affected the whole country,” adding that the law, which offers reparation to victims of the armed conflict, had lost transparency and security in public opinion.

She added that despite not leading to many convictions, the investigations that had taken place under the Justice and Peace Law had in fact “revealed many truths about the conflict.”

She made the statement in light of claims yesterday that the Las Pavas farming community, victims of one of Colombia’s most famous land restitution cases, had lied about paramilitary threats prior to being displaced. However given that the community were not displaced by paramilitaries, but forcibly evicted by Colombian riot police following a court order obtained by palm oil company Daabon — an order later declared by the Constitutional Court to be illegal — it was unclear how the veracity of paramilitary threats were relevant to the legitimacy of their land restitution.

There has also been much controversy over supposed “false victims” of a 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, Meta department, who have been accused along with their lawyers of a “shameless attempt to defraud the Colombian state” by justice minister Juan Carlos Esguerra.

However Esguerra’s attempt to get the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to revoke a ruling demanding that Colombia pay compensation to the victims ended in embarrassing failure last week, when the court trashed evidence provided by the government regarding “false victims” as “incomplete and illegible,” and blamed any ambiguity over the facts of the case on the inadequacies of the original state investigation.

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