The Special Justice for Peace (JEP), a transitional justice that the Colombian State agreed with the extinct FARC in 2016, will investigate all behaviors of the phenomenon known as paramilitarism, the alliance of military, police or other agents of the State with civil groups to fight against the leftist guerrillas, do private justice and even dispossess land for private purposes. This Tuesday morning, its Truth Recognition Chamber, in charge of initiating the investigations that it has grouped into thematic macro-cases, announced that it is opening one for all the acts committed by that alliance and that are not in previous cases.
He had already opened one on the murders of civilians to pass them off as combat casualties, known as “false positives”, another on the genocide of members of the left-wing Patriotic Union party, and three more on all the crimes committed in the context of the conflict. armed in regions particularly affected by it.
This new macrocase, officially called crimes committed by members of the security forces, other State agents, or in association with paramilitary groups, or civilian third parties, due to, on the occasion of, or in direct or indirect relation to the Colombian armed conflict, preliminarily includes just over 72,000 victims, the vast majority (56,502) at the hands of paramilitaries. The 15,710 victims of the public force are victims of 8,345 homicides, 2,904 of forced displacement, 1,638 of threats, 1,249 of torture, and 1,136 of forced disappearance. All figures that recall the dimensions of the conflict and the criminal actions of elements of the State in a conflict that has subsided (51% of these crimes occurred between 2000 and 2009) but has not seen its end.
The JEP intends to investigate the facts not as isolated behaviors but as part of three patterns. It is a look similar to that of the previous macro-case, the one opened last July for crimes by the extinct FARC and which would have left more than twice the number of victims (170,00) for three large criminal patterns.
The first pattern, the fight against the insurgency, groups the facts that are related to the motivations named by the Prosecutor’s Office as the “radicalization of the counterinsurgency fight and stigmatization of the civilian population.” “Behind these motivations was also the intention to consolidate territorial control through the victimization of civilians suspected of belonging to or collaborating with the FARC-EP, ELN and EPL guerrillas,” according to the JEP press release. These are the crimes most associated with a war carried beyond its humanitarian limits.
The second, that of private economic interests, is the one that speaks most not of the dehumanization of war, but of its selfish use, especially by new or old landowners who monopolized land and reinforced inequality in the Colombian countryside. These are “events that are motivated by the control of the economic interests of the territory, its wealth and the grabbing of land of rural residents. An important part of the crimes related to the counterinsurgency fight were functional for the economic interests of legal and illegal actors, by creating the conditions for the extraction of natural resources, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the incorporation of new lands into the market” .
The third major guideline is what the JEP calls the fight “for control of the public function”, the crimes they committed to fuel the paramilitary alliance in both economic and sociopolitical terms. “It sought to capture income from the state administration to strengthen the strategy of regional and national expansion and consolidation of paramilitary structures, but also the possibility of expanding its social bases by controlling the supply of bureaucratic, electoral or government services. public contracting”, explains the Chamber in its statement.
In addition to these patterns, the Chamber will focus on four regions in which the paramilitaries operated and that are not covered by the three regional macro-cases of the Pacific coast of Narino, Uraba and northern Cauca and southern Valle del Cauca, all in the west of the country. That is, something like the areas most affected by the paramilitary war that were no longer prioritized in these macro-cases. These new areas are in the center or east of Colombia. They are called Gran Magdalena, the sum of the three Caribbean departments of Magdalena, La Guajira and Cesar; the Montes de Maria, also in the Caribbean; the area to the east of the mountain range that includes the south of the department of Meta, the west of Caqueta and Guaviare; and Antioquia and Magdalena Medio, the cradle of paramilitarism.
Once the macro-case is open, the Chamber will call State agents, including military and police, who may have directly committed crimes or who may be responsible for crimes “materially executed by paramilitaries when they compromise the criminal responsibility of the public force” to render a version. Military or civilians may voluntarily appear in the case, to submit to transitional justice and not to ordinary justice (which places greater commitments to truth and reparation in exchange for lesser sanctions).
The Chamber reported that 2,840 alleged perpetrators have already submitted to it, including 23 civilians. Once submitted, the justice system can bring charges against those most responsible, as it did in July against 16 soldiers and two civilians for having participated in 303 murders in the macro-case of false positives. The alleged perpetrators can also acknowledge the existence of crimes, as several former FARC commanders have done in the case of the kidnappings committed by the extinct guerrilla. The latter opens the doors to less onerous sanctions, always in exchange not only for maintaining that commitment to the truth but also for repairing their victims.
The JEP plans to open two more macro cases: crimes committed against ethnic peoples and territories; and sexual violence and other crimes motivated by the gender, sex, orientation or gender identity of the victim in the context of the conflict. That justice is made up of 38 magistrates in three chambers and a Tribunal for Peace. It does not prosecute all the crimes committed, but rather prioritizes the most serious and representative crimes of the conflict, and prosecutes those most responsible whenever they are former FARC combatants or State agents, and civilians when they voluntarily submit to the JEP.
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Source: EL PAIS