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How was it and what happened with the paramilitary demobilization in Colombia?

“The big problem is that from this process we are only cognizant of a written agreement known as the Santa Fe de Ralito Agreement and there is no other agreement on the subject,” said the UNal Director of the Peace Talks Follow-up and Think Tank.

When this extradition occurred back in 2008, one of the greatest criticisms was providing priority to narcotrafficking crimes instead of those against humanity as those committed in Colombia: “some commanders were excluded from the Justice and Peace Program. Now that they are being set free in the United States, they are returning to Colombia to appear before justice for other crimes. The problem is that every penal system has its procedures and there is no guarantee that they will effectively return to Colombia,” explained Vargas.

For the demobilization of paramilitary groups, Congress created and passed a bill known as Law 975 of 2005, or Law of Justice and Peace, defined as the legal framework endorsed by the government of Álvaro Uribe.

According to documents of transitional justice in the files of the Ministry of Justice this law looked to “facilitate the peace processes and the reincorporation to civil life of armed illegal groups that demobilized individually or collectively, guaranteeing the rights of the victims to truth, justice, and comprehensive repair”.

Professor Vargas highlights that this law was an example that has been improved with time to what today is the Special Justice for Peace (JEP, for its Spanish acronym) a mechanism that researches and judges the members of the former FARC-EP terrorist group, members of the Armed Forces and third parties that participated in the armed conflict in Colombia.

“The paramilitary groups were born as a response to the excesses and abuse of FARC-EP against farm owners, peasants and large hacienda owners in the region of Puerto Boyacá”.

This was the first paramilitary group that demobilized during the term of former president César Gaviria, but –in his concept– they were the basis for the waves of violence and assassinations in the country. From this and other demobilizations, there are still remnants that were later called criminal bands, which have changed their operation methods and objectives and continue to operate in the country.

Listen to the complete radio program in Spanish below on UN Análisis on the demobilization of paramilitaries in Colombia.



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