The Supreme Court says the Colombian government should not wait for paramilitaries to be prosecuted before compensating the country’s large number of displaced people.
A judge in Medellin had previously ruled that no restitution carried out of land seized by paramilitaries until the paramilitaries have been prosecuted. The Supreme Court overruled this pronouncement, saying the country must do everything it can to help those who have been displaced by the violence by beginning land and property restitution as soon as possible.
“The justice system cannot remain indifferent to the humanitarian tragedy in our country where millions of displaced wander the country in absolute poverty, begging at traffic lights in major cities, ignored by the legal system and the inflexibility of the judiciary,” the court said.
It is estimated that more than 10% of Colombia’s population is displaced due to the country’s armed conflict. Many of these were displaced by paramilitary violence.