NewsLatin AmericaThe Colombian government proposes 6 to 8 years in prison for criminal gangs in its submission policy

The Colombian government proposes 6 to 8 years in prison for criminal gangs in its submission policy

​​​​​​​​​​Nestor Osuna, the Minister of Justice of Colombia, in his office, in Bogota, on February 7.Chelo Camacho

The total peace pursued by the Government of Gustavo Petro goes through a policy of submission to justice that proposes sentences of 6 to 8 years in prison for the bosses who commit to dismantle their criminal structures. This was detailed on Wednesday by the Minister of Justice, Nestor Osuna, in a press conference in which for the first time he disclosed the bill that he intends to bring to Congress, and which gives a period of between two and three years for the groups agree to submit to justice.

Members of these groups, such as the Clan del Golfo, the largest drug gang, will have to serve that jail time regardless of the crimes they have committed; They will do so in special pavilions of already existing prisons. In addition, during their first 4 years out of jail they will have to do restorative work and will be monitored. In exchange for this reduction compared to the usual penalties, they must accept their crimes, surrender their weapons, provide information about their criminal activities, commit to revealing the truth, and perform acts that make reparation to the victims. IF they reoffend or fail to cooperate as agreed, the courts will apply ordinary sentences.

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The project also contemplates that those who opt for submission may keep 6% of the goods they deliver, as has been in force for years in the law for extinction of domain. “The bill does not mention, nor does it affect, nor alter in any way the current rules to which the Colombian State has committed itself regarding extradition,” stressed the Minister of Justice, accompanied by the representative Alirio Uribe (Historical Pact) and the Senator Ariel Avila (Green Alliance), who will be the speakers for the bill. The text must first go through the Higher Council for Criminal Policy, an advisory body whose members have just renewed the Government and to which it will be taken this Thursday. “Once we obtain that concept, we will file it immediately before the Congress of the Republic,” said Osuna.

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“There are no new judges, there are no new procedures, the only thing there is is a substitution of the sentence in exchange for truth, reparation, a guarantee of non-repetition, and the dismantling of high-impact criminal structures,” Senator Avila agreed this Wednesday, underlining that there will be no political or belligerent status for criminal gangs. One of the articles in the text explicitly excludes “rebel armed groups and organizations that have a political nature with which the National Government is carrying out dialogue processes or peace talks,” and states that the benefits of the project do not constitute political recognition of the structures organized armies.

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As part of the policy of total peace, the Government is in dialogue simultaneously with various armed groups that include the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army, to which it recognizes a political status, but also the so-called dissidents of the extinct guerrilla of the FARC. The Government has made it clear that, in principle, it intends to negotiate with one part of the dissidents and subdue another. Osuna told this newspaper that it still remains to be defined whether the two major dissidences, which call themselves the Central General Staff and Segunda Marquetalia, enter total peace as high-impact armed criminal groups, if they do so as groups in insurrection, or if the one yes and the other no.


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