Colombia’s government presented a draft initiative Monday which aims to provide a legal solution for the 17,000 demobilized paramilitaries left in limbo following a recent Constitutional Court decision to end their immunity from prosecution, reports El Espectador.
Last week the Constitutional Court voted five to four that the law based on the “principal of opportunity,” which protected ex-combatants from prosecution for their membership of criminal groups on the principle that it was better to encourage them to testify on their crimes than to move forward with prosecution, was not consistent with the constitution, violates the principles of justice, and in effect provided amnesty.
Minister for Justice and the Interior German Vargas Lleras said that the new initiative would provide “stable conditions for the process of reintegrating demobilized [paramilitaries] back into civilian life.” Under the project the demobilized could avoid a jail term through a full confession of their crimes.
The Organization of American States (OAS) expressed concern following the Constitutional Court’s decision last week, fearing it could harm the reintegration process.
The organization said that the court’s decision could cause “concern and anxiety” among the former paramilitaries, and that “imminent arrest warrants could end up convincing part of this population to leave the reintegration program and, in some cases, return to illegality.”