Colombia’s Supreme Court rules that demobilized paramilitaries can be extradited to the United States, despite a deal with the government of former President Alvaro Uribe that sheltered them from extradition.
According to the Supreme Court, the deal the paramilitaries have not kept their end of the bargain with the previous administration that allowed them to enjoy judicial benefits in exchange for victim compensation and collaboration with justice to find out what happened with the tens of thousands of victims of paramilitary violence.
“After seven years, those who have chosen to benefit [from the Justice and Peace law] have not really, efficiently and transparently contributed to clarifying the truth and the compensation of their victims,” the court ruled.
As a result, the Court said it can not ignore its obligation to comply with international extradition treaties.
The ruling is a heavy blow for paramilitary commanders who under the law could not receive prison sentences exceeding eight years, but face prison sentences upto 30 years for drug trafficking in the United States.
However, victims’ rights groups have in the past objected to the extradition of high-profile members of the paramilitary AUC who abroad face only drug trafficking charges while in Colombia are accused of tens of thousands of human rights violations including homice, rape and forced displacement.