Colombia’s Supreme Court is discussing amending the Andean nation’s extradition treaty with the U.S., so that the terms of the agreement guarantee justice and reparation to the more than 300,000 victims of illegal armed groups.
According to El Escpectador the court has been considering the amendment for a few weeks, amid concerns that extraditing criminals to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges interferes with Colombia’s Justice and Peace process.
The court is expected to send a proposal to the government Tuesday, which outlines list of crimes for which Colombians can not be extradited. The list will reportedly include crimes against humanity and crimes that are being dealt with under the Justice and Peace process.
The proposal includes a recommendation that the extradition of criminals should not be approved until they have completed their required participation in the Justice and Peace process and have adequately repaired their victims.
The court will also ask the government to recoginze the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity committed by Colombian citizens.
Another proposal of the court, according to El Espectador, is that if the U.S. requests the extradition of a drug trafficker, who has not yet confessed nor compensated his victims in Colombia, instead of denying his extradition, he would be interned on one of the U.S.’s seven military bases in Colombia, while his criminal status is determined, in order to avoid impunity.
“The court’s thesis is simple: they must first paid for their crimes here [in Colombia],” surmises El Espectador.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Tuesday spoke out in defense of the extradition treaty, saying that Colombia had done everything possible to ensure that extradited paramilitary bosses had continued to participate in the Justice and Peace process.
The court’s stance follows an announcemnt by the U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield last week that he will seek to adjust the extradition treaty, after the Colombian Supreme Court’s rejected the extradition requests for several former paramilitary leaders.
Brownfield said that the U.S government respects the importance of Colombia’s ongoing Justice and Peace process, adding that “we will make some adjustments to our legal system to ensure that the Colombian justice system has access to the extradition process so we can continue to collaborate in the process of justice and peace.”
Extradited paramilitaries themselves have complained that their extradition has stopped them from adequately participating in the reparation process.
The U.S-Colombian extradition treaty has been in place since 1982 and was amended in 1997 to allow for the extradition of Colombian nationals.