The administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is “undermining” efforts to investigate and prosecute the crimes of paramilitaries
in the country, said Human Rights Watch in a 140-page report released
While the report noted that “there has been progress in some areas,” it said justice for paramilitary victims and a full accounting of government-paramilitary links are threatened by the Uribe Administration on three counts.
First, the repeated, personal attacks on the Supreme Court and its members constitute “what increasingly looks like a concerted campaign to smear and discredit the Court.”
Second, the administration’s lack of support has ultimately killed efforts to reform Congress to remove paramilitary influence.
Third, pending constitutional reforms proposed by the administration and pushed personally by Uribe that would move ‘parapolitics’ out of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.
The report, “Breaking the Grip? Obstacules to Justice for Paramilitary Mafias in Colombia,” is based on interviews with prosecutors, investigators, and witnesses, as well as case files, and other material collected over the course of more than one year of research.
“Colombia’s justice institutions have made enormous progress in investigating paramilitaries and their powerful friends,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “But the Uribe administration keeps taking steps that could sabotage these investigations.”