Despite guarantees, only six of the fourteen former top AUC paramilitary leaders who were extradited to the United States two years ago have been able to participate in Colombia’s Justice and Peace process, according to Caracol Radio.
Colombian officials working on the Justice and Peace process told Caracol Radio that the extradition of the paramilitary leaders has hampered the program’s efforts to offer victims of paramilitaries truth, justice and reparations. The officials blame this on a lack of cooperation from American authorities in facilitating video conferences for the jailed leaders to testify before the Colombian courts.
According to the sources, of the fourteen extradited men, only Salvatore Mancuso, Diego Fernando Murillo, alias “Don Berna,” Miguel Angel Mejia Munera, alias “El Mellizo,” Guillermo Perez Alzate, alias “Pablo Sevillano,” and Ramiro Vanoy, alias “Cuco Vanoy,” have been able to testify via satellite from the United States.
Fears that extraditing Colombians to the United States would hamper the justice and peace process have played an important role in recent months, as Colombian courts have begun to block the extradition of paramilitary leaders until they have completed their participation in the Justice and Peace process.
Last week, Colombia’s Supreme Court denied the U.S.’s extradition request for Freddy “El Aleman” Rendon Herrera, a former top paramilitary leader wanted by the U.S. for drug trafficking, claiming that they want Herrera to answer to Colombian justice first and make reparations to his victims before the issue of extradition would be addressed.
In March, Colombia decided to deny the extradition of El Aleman’s brother, Daniel “Don Mario” Rendon Herrera, on the same grounds; that he should remain in Colombia to participate in the Justice and Peace process so that the truth about his crimes can be uncovered, and his victims compensated.