The pressure on Colombia’s President Ivan Duque to end his resistance to his country’s war crimes tribunal is increasing amid growing claims that his party is stalling approval in Congress.
The senate voted to reject Duque’s controversial objections to the the statutory law that defines the powers of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) on Tuesday.
Senate president Ernesto Macias of Duque’s far right Democratic Center (CD) party has claimed that the “pro-peace” coalition came one vote short to formalize the senate decision to return the presidential objections to Duque.
Senators and judicial experts disagree and have said that the bill was passed and should be forwarded to the Constitutional Court and the President’s Office.
The United Nations, which monitors Colombia’s peace process, reiterated its call to urgently approve the JEP’s statutory law and end the legal uncertainty for demobilized FARC guerrillas.
We are obviously respectful of parliamentary proceedings. What the United Nations says is that we must have a statutory law as soon as possible because it is vital for the functioning of the JEP. Parliamentary debate is respected, democratic procedures are respected but of course urgency for a statutory law for the full functioning of the JEP is necessary.
UN Human Rights chief Alberto Brunori
Former President Juan Manuel Santos, who signed peace with FARC guerrillas in 2016, on Wednesday asked his successor to sign off on the statutory law, joining others’ claim that Macias’ refusal to acknowledge the vote goes against the law.
Fortunately [the objections] were rejected. Hopefully this will allow the JEP to start operating. It is not consistent to put a stick to the wheel of the JEP and then demand results.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos
Macias’ refusal to acknowledge the validity of the vote is the latest of many attempt by the CD and illegal forces to frustrate the proceedings of the JEP that began investigating war crimes last year.
The Constitutional Court is already investigating Congress after the bill was altered between its approval by both chambers and before it arrived at the president of the House of Representatives for signing.
The JEP is controversial because it is not just investigating war crimes investigated byformer FARC guerrillas, but also crimes against humanity committed by the state, particularly during the two administration of Duque’s political patron and CD leader Alvaro Uribe.