In a letter addressed to Organization of American States head Jose Miguel Insulza, a committee of jailed paramilitaries call for “urgent” reform to Colombia’s Justice and Peace law, claiming that the current demobilization process is ineffective.
The letter, written by members of demobilized paramilitary organization the AUC from a Bogota jail, states that the 2005 legislation must be reformed in order “to offer legal certainties to the accused, guarantees of satisfaction and reparation to the victims, and knowledge of the truth to Colombia and the world.”
The paramilitaries argue that the law must be amended “urgently, so that it doesn’t become sterilized in an endless labyrinth without end, in which it becomes impossible to achieve objectives.”
The Justice and Peace process offers paramilitaries reduced sentences in return for their demobilization, complete confession of their crimes, participation in testimonial tribunals, and the compensation of their victims.
The program has been criticized for taking too long to convict paramilitaries, with the first jail sentence handed down in June 2010, nearly five years after the process began.
Paramilitary leaders extradited to the U.S. have complained that their incarceration abroad has stopped them providing testimony and reparation to victims. This led Colombia to amend its extradition treaty with the U.S. so that demobilized paramilitaries cannot be extradited until they have adequately complied with the reparation process.