Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that beneficiaries of land stolen from displaced farmers have no right to legal benefits.
The court determined that two articles of the Victims and Land Restitution Law have been declared unconstitutional and that those who have admitted to stealing land will not actually be waived of punishment, reported news site El Pais.
Officials claimed that those who have confessed to obtaining land in a false manner by displacing others from their estates will not be redeemed from justice in exchange for their cooperation in returning stripped assets.
The point of the law that was declared unconstitutional by the court said that “those who come to the process and confess the illegality of the titles or the taking of lands or of the rights claimed in the process, will be beneficiaries to the principle of opportunity under the Code of Criminal Procedure.”
It was also determined a disproportionate and unjustified punishment to the loss of the victims’ rights “to reclaim their lands if these lands are invaded or taken.”
Not only the people that have been victims of forced displacement have the right to the restitution of lands, but also those that abandoned their lands because of symbolic violence, hiding from the violence, have rights as well.
The Victims and Land Restitution Law, which went into effect January 2012, seeks to compensate victims of the country’s 48-year armed conflict. The bill is meant to help victims affected by the violence of guerrilla and paramilitary groups rebuild their lives with the help of payments of up to $11,000, as well as provide land restitutions to people displaced by violence.