The Colombian Justice Ministry on Thursday allocated four rural estates seized by the government from prominent criminal organizations to families forcibly removed from their lands.
In an unprecedented ruling, the justice ministry has provided the Santos administration with a new method in which to compensate displaced victims of Colombia’s armed conflict.
Since its passage in 2011, Law 1448, commonly known as the Victims Law or the Law of Victims and Land Restitution, has governed the bureaucratic process of returning human rights victims to their homes.
This however, is the first time it has ever been used to justify a general compensation, as opposed to a direct restitution, of property.
“For the first time,” said Justice Minister Ruth Stella Correa, “[the law] supports a definitive assignment of property, already lawfully seized [by the government], to go toward repaying victims stripped of their lands.”
The property, she explained, currently under the dominion of Foundation for the Rehabilitation, Social Investment and Fight Against Organized Crime (FRISCO), will soon be transferred to the Agriculture Ministry’s Land Restitution Unit, which will be charged with turning it over to the designated families.
The ruling is particularly groundbreaking because the farms being redistributed did not originally pertain to the families being granted rights over them. The precedence set by the Justice Ministry gives the Santos administration a new and potentially expansive tool to fulfill its promise of returning 3.4 million hectares of land to victims of Colombia’s internal strife by 2014,
- Avalan traslado de bienes de mafia a victimas de despojo de tierras (El Espectador)
- Bienes de la mafia seran para reparar a victimas de despojo de tierras (Caracol Radio)
La Argentina, ubicado en Aguachica (Cesar).
El Fierro, ubicado en La Candelaria (Valle del Cauca).
Villa Silvana, ubicado en Ibagué (Tolima)