Colombia’s President Ivan Duque fiercely attacked his country’s war crimes tribunal while his far-right party seeks to abolish the transitional justice system.
The president was invited by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) to discuss transitional justice and took the opportunity to express his frustration about the court’s failure to produce quick results.
The outgoing president of the JEP, magistrate Patricia Linares, with the support of an international panel of experts, dismissed Duque’s diatribe that was riddled with falsehoods.
The president and his far-right Democratic party have actively opposed the the JEP and the judicial principle that all are equal before the law.
Duque and his party have always sought a differential treatment for crimes committed by state actors presupposing that any action carried out by a government is legal while blurring the line between opposition and crime.
The peace process and the transitional justice process in particular have exposed the extent of human rights violations committed by the state, specifically under former president Alvaro Uribe, and its failure to serve justice to victims.
Uribe, who is investigated over his alleged involvement in three massacres, a homicide and the formation of a death squad, has consistently rallied to abolish the transitional justice system.
Duque found himself talking to a wall in his latest attempt to discredit the JEP with, for example, UN deputy-Secretary General Amina Mohammed stressing that “a sustainable peace is not possible without justice and reconciliation.”
The application of justice is a major problem for Duque as both Uribe, the president’s mentor, and his political allies at risk of being held accountable for alleged crimes they committed.
The president and his party, however, have been unable to rewind the JEP despite constant efforts.