The bill introduced in the Colombian House of Representatives to control the extradition of members of the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group, and other rebels has been rejected by the High Council of Criminal Policy.
The bill’s sponsor Victor Correa is a member of the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), Colombia’s primary left-wing opposition party. Correa believes that the Colombian justice system is capable of judging its criminals and that this bill would strengthen the nation’s authority and confidence, helping towards reparation for the victims of the civil conflict in Colombia.
The bill could safeguard members of the FARC and other insurgents from potential extradition requests, provided that they submit to procedures of transitional justice.
Transitional justice provides opportunities for societies going through a political transition, from civil conflict towards peace in Colombia’s case, to address human rights abuses through criminal prosecution, truth commissions and reparation programs for victims.
Correa believes that extraditing members of the FARC and other insurgents would bring them to justice for crimes they committed in other countries without bringing them face to face with the crimes they committed in their own country. Keeping the rebels in Colombia would send a message to victims that the perpetrators were contributing to the peace building in the nation.
The High Council of Criminal Policy, led by the Minister of Justice Alfonso Gomez, did not accept Correa’s initiative since it would limit Colombia’s cooperation with other countries, establishing procedures that go against the authority of the legal systems of nations requesting extraditions.
This news comes during a period of peace talks between the FARC and the government, an attempt to end Colombia’s armed conflict, which began in 1964 and has killed more than 260,000 people and displace over 6 million.