The Mayor of Medellin proposed on Thursday that a truth commission be held regarding the history of violence that has long gripped Colombia’s second city.
In response to the alarming escalation in Medellin’s homicide rate this year, the Mayor, Alonso Salazar, proposed that a truth commission be held to document the history of the different types of violence that the city has suffered over the last few decades.
Salazar presented his initiative during the debate about Colombia’s Justice and Peace Process, held in Madrid at the Toledo Centre for Peace on Thursday.
According to Salazar the commission should be created at the beginning of 2010 and be composed of representatives of unions, human rights NGOs, the Catholic Church and any other entities who can contribute to the reconstruction of memory.
The Mayor stressed that the commission would not be seeking to judge perpetrators of the violence but instead to build a historical reconstruction in order to guarantee victims’ and society’s right to the truth about the conflict in Medellin.
“Our proposal is to create a historical compilation in order maintain a record. We are all concerned that there is a deficit in truth,” stated Salazar in a report by newspaper El Colombiano Friday.
The commission would address the various issues that have lead to conflict in the city over the last decades, “it is indispensable that [the truth commission] cover themes of drug trafficking gangs, guerrilla militias and paramilitaries,” added Salazar.
The President of Colombia’s Supreme Court, Augusto Ibañez, declared that the initiative can count on the support of the court.
This proposal highlighted the extent of Colombia’s polarization in the search for truth, justice and reparation for victims who have suffered at the hands of paramilitaries and guerrilla factions.
The debate held in Madrid discussed the achievements and failures of the Justice and Peace law, which was implemented in 2002 by President Alvaro Uribe as an agreement between the Colombian government and the country’s armed groups.
While the High Commissioner for Peace, Frank Pearl, defended the process and its achievements, Ivan Cepeda, director of the National Movement for Victims of State Crime, denounced the process as a failure.