Colombian NGOs on Thursday criticized a proposed transitional justice legislation while being heard by the Constitutional Court which is investigating whether the government-proposed legislation is constitutional.
The so-called Legal Framework for Peace, approved in Congress last year, modified the constitution and laid the foundation for punishment of war crimes, reparations for victims and eventual peace with the FARC.
Speaking at the Constitutional courts open hearing on the subject, Gustavo Gallon, director of NGO Colombian Commission of Jurists, labeled President Juan Manuel Santos proposals “a distortion of transitional justice.”
Santos said earlier Thursday that “we cannot pretend to investigate all acts committed in half a century of violence, but we want to build a realistic strategy.”
Gallon rejected this stance, however, and insisted that the legal framework for peace should guarantee justice for all of the victims of the armed conflict.
“Instead of achieving maximum justice in adverse conditions, it [Santos’ proposed legal framework for peace] allows you to reduce the duty to administer justice under the pretext of peace.”
Clara Rojas, the director of anti-kidnapping NGO Pais Libre, also criticized the proposed legal framework for peace: “We are in disagreement with a framework that generates impunity and does not respect the truth. Who will respond to the individual pain of the victims?”
“Why only prosecute those most responsible excluding others and the victims right to truth?” added Rojas.
The framework for peace was proposed by the government and approved by Congress last year to set the legal boundaries of what the government can and cannot offer illegal armed groups in return for their demobilization. The legislation regulating transitional justice at the end of armed conflict gained imminence when the government announced to begin peace talks with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC.