An independent “Truth Commission” will study the cases of 17,0000 demobilized paramilitaries after Colombia’s constitutional court sank the suspension of prosecution of the former AUC members, newspaper El Tiempo reported on Sunday.
The newly formed commission will have to prevent that the cases of former paramilitaries further clog the country’s judicial system or that the former fighters abandon the peace process and join the criminal groups that sprung from the remnants of the AUC.
According to the newspaper, the commission will be appointed by the president and consist of five Colombians “with the highest ethical , intellectual and humanitarian qualifications.”
The “Truth Commission” will then independently study the cases of the former paramilitary fighters who were never tried as part of the demobilization agreement made between the AUC and the government of former President Alvaro Uribe.
According to El Tiempo, the commission will sign “truth accords” with the each of the 17,000 former paramilitaries and after studying their cases advise the Prosecutor General’s Office about whether to prosecute or to drop the pending conspiracy charges.
The bulk of former fighters are former members of the AUC that are not suspected of committing crimes against humanity. The constitutional court ruled against their exclusion from prosecution, stating the judicial branch, and not the executive branch of government, may decide on whether or not to prosecute a criminal suspect.
When negotiating the demobilization of the AUC, the government offered the exclusion of prosecution in exchange for disarmament, restitution of victims and full cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office, that is investigating the tens of thousands of crimes against humanity committed by the AUC.