Colombian Minister of Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar has assured rural Colombians that the government will not back away from pursuing leading paramilitaries and guerrillas responsible for mass land thefts, Radio Caracol reported on Friday.
The minster confirmed that from January 1, 2012, the Land Restitution Unit and agrarian judges will begin work on “this gigantic and historic task of returning these lands to the rural people displace by violence.”
He added the government would ensure those responsible for the apropriation of the lands would be prosecuted.
The process of land restitution was initiated by the passing of the “Vicitims Law” earlier this year, designed to provide reparations, restitution and compensation for victims of Colombia’s conflict, especially its internally displaced population.
According to the government, the initiative is expected to assist over one million Colombians.