Colombia’s highest administrative court ordered President Ivan Duque to suspend the extradition of jailed warlord “Otoniel” at the request of victim organizations.
According to the order of the Council of State, the government may not extradite Dario Antonio Usuga, a.k.a. until after processes to appeal the president’s extradition order.
War crimes tribunal JEP is currently studying a conflict victims’ request that seeks Otoniel’s submission to the transitional justice system.
The former commander of paramilitary organization AGC asked to submit to the JEP, which would shield him from extradition.
The JEP turned down this request, which was appealed by the victim organizations that want Otoniel to be tried for crimes against humanity in Colombia.
The former AGC chief took part in Colombia’s armed conflict since 1985, initially as an errand boy for guerrillas and ultimately as the boss of the country’s largest paramilitary group.
The US Government wants to try Otoniel exclusively on alleged drug offenses.
Colombia’s war victims clash with US government over extradition
The American embassy in Bogota insisted in February that “the extradition of Otoniel would contribute to truth and justice in both countries.”
This is disputed by victim organizations after previous extraditions effectively ended the cooperation of convicted and alleged war criminals with justice.
Colombia’s police intelligence unit DIJIN has tried to prevent Otoniel’s cooperation with the JEP and the Truth Commission ever since the warlord’s arrest in October last year.
Otoniel has given the JEP the names of multiple army generals who allegedly worked together with the AGC or its predecessor, paramilitary organization AUC.
Among the generals is the former commander of Colombia’s armed forces, retired General Leonardo Barrero, who is also a member of Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party.
The former AGC chief reportedly also gave the JEP a list of names of businessmen and politicians who supported the AUC in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.