Colombia’s war crimes tribunal JEP announced investigations into war crimes committed by state officials, and their allies in the private sector and paramilitary groups.
In a press conference, JEP magistrate Belkis Izquierdo said that “Case 08” is the first that investigates a specific group of suspected war criminals.
The case involves war crimes committed by security and government officials “either in association with paramilitary groups or third parties,” said Izquierdo.
The lines of investigations
“Crimes that are related to motives described by the prosecution as the ‘radicalization of the counterinsurgency struggle and the stigmatization of the civilian population’. Behind these motivations was also the intention to consolidate territorial control through the victimization of civilians suspected of belonging to or collaborating with the FARC-EP, ELN and EPL guerrillas.”
“Crimes that are motivated by the control of the economic interests of the territory, its riches and the land grabbing of rural inhabitants. An important part of the crimes related to the counterinsurgency were functional to the economic interests of legal and illegal actors, by creating the conditions for the extraction of natural resources, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the incorporation of new lands into the market.”
Crimes that “sought to obtain funds from the state administration to strengthen the strategy of expansion and regional and national consolidation of paramilitary structures, but also the possibility of expanding their social bases by controlling the supply of bureaucratic, electoral or public contracting services. The paramilitaries relied on members of the security forces, other state agents and civilian third parties as their intermediaries in the capture of the public function and apparatus.”
According to preliminary information provided by the JEP’s Investigation Unit, the crimes investigated under Case 08 were primarily carried out by paramilitary groups and left more than 71,000 victims.
More than half of these crimes were committed between 2000 and 2009.
Izquierdo said that 2,840 suspects in the case have already submitted to the JEP. These suspects may receive judicial benefits if they cooperate with the transitional justice system.
The ordinary justice system will be ordered to investigate all alleged war criminals mentioned in Case 08 or any of the JEP’s investigations.
Izquierdo said that the JEP will join forces with “Justice and Peace,” the transitional justice system that has been investigating former members of the now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC since 2005.
The investigation will prioritize regions where the crimes that fall under Case 08 were particularly common in an attempt to administer justice more efficiently.