Victims of human rights violations in a former demilitarized zone in the south of Colombia, who failed register their claims within two years of the facts, will not be entitled to reparations, said the president of Colombia’s State Council on Thursday.
The State Council convicted the Colombian government of failure to protect its citizens from Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in the zone of San Vicente del Caguan between 1998 and 2002, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Following the ruling, however, State Council President Alfonso Vargas on Thursday declared that only victims who reported claims within the period specified by the law will be able to claim reparations from the Colombian state.
“For those who believed themselves victims but did not make a claim within the opportunity that the law presents, it is already too late” he said.
Vargas stated that the period of time allowed for claims after violations is “known in procedural law as an “expiry date”” and will prevent any fresh claims from being considered.
The State Council President confirmed that victims “damaged by concrete facts”, who made their claims within the specified period, will be able to receive compensation.
San Vicente del Caguan was established as a demilitarized zone by former President Andres Pastrana in October 1998 to allow peace talks between the government and FARC to be held in the region. The demilitarized zone became a safe haven for the FARC until February 2002 when the peace talks came to an unsuccessful conclusion and the guerrillas maintained a strong presence in del Caguan over the following years.