The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) new jurisdiction in Colombia is being used for political advantage, according to the Colombian Ambassador to the Hague. The Ambassador stressed that the Court will only intervene in Colombia when there is a failure by the State to bring war criminals to justice.
Ambassador Francisco Jose Lloreda Mera said that the ICC will only intervene in Colombia as a “last resort”, if it believes that war crimes and crimes against humanity have not been dealt with adequately under Colombian justice.The Court has jurisdiction over genocide and crimes against humanity from 2002 to the present.
Colombia ratified full cooperation with the ICC on Sunday 1st November. In the days before the treaty came into effect, there was much debate in Colombia as to the extent of the ICC’s jurisdiction.
Lloreda said that Colombians’ lack of knowledge of the ICC’s role had been used for political gain. He stressed that ideally no case would go before the ICC, “because this would mean that Colombia justice is fulfilling its duty and producing results and only in the eventual case in which the Colombian State and its justice system don’t advance in inestigations, will there be reason for the Court to intervene.”
Lloreda added in an interview with El Espectador that the ICC could not automatically open an investiagtion but must first seek authorization before a pre-trial chamber consisting of a group of judges.
The Colombian state will assign 7.5 billion pesos (almost $US4 million) to the defense of members of the armed forces and police who are summoned to appear before the ICC, El Espectador reported Monday.
“We are not seeking to create impunity… we are simply seeking to guarantee the basic right to defense to the thousands of Colombians who are sticking out there necks to defend our security,” said Congressmen Lucero Cortes Mendez.