As part of Colombia’s ongoing Peace and Justice process, the first ever hearing between paramilitaries and their victims will be held on Monday in Bogota, in order to negotiate in what form, and for how much, the victims will be compensated, reports website Verdad Abierta.
Lawyers from the national Ombudsman’s Office and Inspector General’s Office will represent over 1,400 citizens from the municipality of Mampujan in their quest to win reparations for the forced displacements, kidnappings and murders that occurred in 2000 at the hands of paramilitary organizations.
The victims are seeking reparations from the former commanders of a unit of the notorious, and now demobilized, paramilitary coalition United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
According to the authorites, Edward Cobos Tellez, alias “Diego Vecino,” and Huber Enrique Banquez Martinez, alias “Juancho Dique,” commanded an AUC unit responsible for an incident on March 20, 2000 that left eleven civilians dead and thousands displaced in the town of Mampujan, in the Bolivar department.
According to Verdad Abierta, the hearing will not only decide on how the paramilitaries will pay compensation, but it will also determine the type of commitment and role that the Colombia state has in the process.
The hearing between the paramilitaries and the victims is expected to last about two weeks. Following the hearing, judges will have one month to decide on the nature and level of reparations.
According to assistant prosecutor Fernando Pareja, who has spearheaded this process in recent last months, five other hearings between paramilitaries and their victims are hoped to be scheduled for later this year.
Colombia’s Law of Justice and Peace, which was passed by President Alvaro Uribe in 2005, laid the framework for the mass-demobilization of over 30,000 paramilitary fighters.