Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon will travel to Colombia to work as an advisor to the Organization of American States (OAS) on human rights issues in the country and to monitor the paramilitary demobilization process, El Tiempo reported Thursday.
No date has been set for his arrival though his presence and the continued monitoring work of the OAS in Colombia has been approved by President Santos’ government.
It is widely believed that Garzon will have a key role in issues such as Justice and Peace Law (JPL) reforms and the restitution of land to victims of violence under the pending Victims Law.
Speaking at a conference last week the Spanish judge said that efforts must be made to fully integrate former paramilitaries, such as the extradited leader Ever Veloza, alias “H.H.,” back into the Justice and Peace process, otherwise there is a risk that the credibility of the process as a whole will fail.
Garzon’s involvement in the OAS mission has generated some controversy after it was originally announced in January that he would be working as a consultant to the government. Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez opposed the appointment at the time, stating that Garzon’s presence was “neither desirable nor advisable.”
Garzon most recently worked as an advisor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) after being suspended from the Spanish High Court in May 2010 for investigating crimes under Spain’s Franco regime that fell under a legal amnesty.
Last August, Garzon publicly stated that Colombia would face intervention from the ICC if it fails in its obligations to provide justice for victims of the country’s internal conflict.
The OAS has been involved in the work of the JPL since its inception through the subsidiary organization, the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP/OEA).