Leftist Colombian political party Polo Democratico will not support President Juan Manuel Santos‘ Victims Law, which is intended to compensate those who suffered in the country’s armed conflict.
Polo Democratico congressman Ivan Cepeda said Wednesday that the party will not back the Victims Law as it has been proposed to Congress.
Cepeda argued that the law must include an independent Truth Commission. As the bill stands, the commission would fall under the jurisdiction of the national government. Cepeda wants the members of the commission to be elected by the State Council, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.
The congressman also said Polo Democratico won’t support the law because the government did not consult victims or minority organizations when creating it. Cepeda is the leading activist for the Movement for Victims of State crimes (MOVICE), an advocacy organization for victims of paramilitary crimes. The party also rejects the law because Cepeda said it confuses social welfare with victim’s reparation, and thus is not “fiscally responsible.”
The law, after undergoing a few changes of timing and execution, was presented to Congress for an official vote on Tuesday. It was originally presented for consideration on September 27 by President Juan Manuel Santos. The president’s presence was noteworthy as it unusual for the head of state to attend a session in Congress to defend or explain a government proposal.
Former President Alvaro Uribe criticized Santos’ Victims Law for offering the same compensation to victims of the state as to victims of illegal groups. Previous proposed Victims Laws have differentiated between claimants depending on which groups they were harmed by.