The United Nations Security Council called on Colombia’s Government and Congress to ratify the powers of the country’s war crimes tribunal on Friday.
The call to ratify the statutory law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) “as soon as possible” came weeks after President Ivan Duque’s controversial decision to return the bill to Congress.
The UN’s chief observer of the peace process, Carlos Ruiz, invited Rosa Emilia Salamanca, a renowned peace advocate who spoke on behalf of civil society.
Ruiz’ move effectively marginalized the role of Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and added pressure on the government to move the peace process forward.
The Secretary General has called for prompt action by all concern to ensure that the statutory law, consistent with the peace agreement, is put in place as soon as possible.
UN Special Representative Carlos Ruiz
Trujillo vowed that Duque would end his opposition to the JEP if Congress decides to dismiss his objections as expected.
The statutory law that defines the powers of the JEP, which began investigating war crimes last year already, is currently held back by the Senate’s far-right president Ernesto Macias, a loyalist of Duque’s political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe.
Uribe and other allies of the president are implicated in multiple war crimes.
US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen said that the JEP was “critical” for “meaningful justice” for victims of war crimes, and urged Congress and Duque to “promptly” ratify the statutory law defining its powers.
We reaffirm the importance of Colombia promptly passing the [JEP] statutory law to ensure it has a solid legal framework to operate effectively and independently.
US ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen
Cohen did not openly share the concerns of his counterpart in Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, who has controversially lobbied in favor of Duque’s objections that were dismissed by the House of Representatives last week.
The JEP’s investigations currently cover crimes committed against more than 800,000 war crime victims.