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Weekly Update from The Special Jurisdiction of Peace

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

01 February - 08 February 2019


For The Guernica Group, the work developed by the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and No Repetition (SIVJRNR) of Colombia is essential to carry out and consolidate the Peace Accord. Victims are the central pillar and the guarantee for the need to define the truth and ensure accountability for key episodes of violence committed during the armed conflict, as the basis of long-lasting reconciliation. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has the potential to develop new legal precedents that could reshape the work of international criminal lawyers and generate a valuable legacy for the whole Latin American region.


Accordingly, The Guernica Group will provide weekly media updates from the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in order to expand the JEP’s outreach and generate debate around the cases, the judicial proceedings and the procedures of the different Chambers. The summary of the news will be published in both English and Spanish, and will include links to the relevant articles:



The JEP holds a meeting to coordinate their work with the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction:


On February 7, the Amnesty Chamber or Pardon of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) held a meeting with traditional authorities “Nej Wexs” in Jambaló (Cauca) to work in coordination with the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction.


Special Jurisdiction for Peace, Twitter, February 7, 2019, available at: https://twitter.com/JEP_Colombia/status/1093653900283035649


The Chamber President reviews the Statutory Law of the Special Justice of Peace before sending it to the Nariño Palace, requesting the Senate to "correct omissions" within it:


The Constitutional Court announced at the end of December that it had sent the Statutory Law of the Special Justice of Peace to Congress for it to be processed and entered into force. However, two months later this has still not taken place. In face of the criticism, the Head of the Upper House, Ernesto Macias, has declared to have signed the norm on January 31, and now it is time for Alejandro Carlos Chacón, in charge of the Lower House, to review the law and then resubmit a signed copy to the Palace. However, Alejandro Carlos Chacón has presented some observations, citing certain "omissions" in the Law. For example, Chacón pointed out that, in the footnote corresponding to the ninth article, the phrase "protect the rights of the victims" should have been omitted and replaced with “contribute to the achievement of a stable and lasting peace and adopt decisions that grant full legal security ".


Finally, Chacón warns that he is ready to sign the text "immediately", once the corrections are made. Otherwise, he will not sign the document, which will continue to entangle the presidential sanction.


BluRadio, "Chamber President reviews the statutory law of JEP before sending it to Casa de Nariño", February 7, 2019, available at: https://www.bluradio.com/politica/presidente-de-camara-revisa-ley-estatutaria-de-jep-antes-de-enviarla-casa-de-narino-205174-ie435


BluRadio, "Speaker of the House asks the Senate to correct omissions in statutory law of JEP", February 8, 2019, available at:https://www.bluradio.com/politica/presidente-de-la-camara-pide-al-senado-corregir-omisiones-en-ley-estatutaria-de-jep-205222-ie430


The JEP Review Section extends the period for receiving legal assistance requested from EE for 20 days in the case of Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, alias "Jesús Santrich":


On 4th February, the Review Section of the JEP agreed to extend the term for receiving a response to the request for judicial assistance, through the national government, to the authorities of the United States within the process of a guarantee of non-extradition, as is the case with “Jesus Santrich”.


The Review Section of the JEP considered that the non-arrival of the rogatory letter from the United States until then constituted "an act outside the jurisdiction that hindered the proper functioning of the work of administering justice, in the context of the peace agreements and not attributable to the recipient of the request for judicial assistance, but who served as an intermediary or diplomatic channel between the different states and the courier company that was used for the referral letter rogatory”. Given the circumstances, the Section decided therefore to annul the order of January 29, which had closed the evidentiary cycle in this case, opening the stage for the parties to present final arguments.


Patricia Linares, president of the JEP has clarified that the Minister of Justice had assured her that the letter rogatory had been sent and received by the United States.


Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "The JEP Review Section extends the period for receiving legal assistance requested from EE for 20 days. UU in case Hernández Solarte ", February 4, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/JEP-prorroga-por-20-d%C3%ADas-el-plazo-para-recibir-asistencia-judicial-solicitada-a-EE.-UU.-en-caso-Hern%C3%A1ndez-Solarte.aspx


BluRadio, “Minjusticia informed me that letter about Santrich has already arrived in the US: president of JEP", February 7, 2019, available at: https://www.bluradio.com/judicial/minjusticia-me-informo-que-carta-sobre-santrich-ya-llego-eeuu-presidenta-de-jep-205128-ie435


The JEP adopts plan of action to overcome congestion in the distribution of matters to the Amnesty Chamber:


On February 4, the JEP presented to the Council of State the "Plan of Action to overcome delay and judicial congestion" of the Amnesty or Pardon Chamber, caused by the high volume of requests from persons linked to alleged incidents related to the armed conflict .The plan contains different activities that will be implemented until May 17, as agreed by the Governing Body of the the JEP on January 29.


See the main activities that will be implemented as part of the plan, here (aquí)

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "JEP adopts plan of action to overcome the repression in the distribution of matters to the Amnesty Chamber or Pardon," February 6, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/JEP-adopta-plan-de-acci%C3%B3n-para-descongestionar-la-Sala-de-Amnist%C3%ADa-o-Indulto.aspx


The European Union demands respect for the independence and decisions of the JEP:


The special envoy of the European Union, Eamon Gilmore, has requested the Colombian State give its full support to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, highlighting its important role in moving forward the commitments within the Agreements of Havanna and signed by the guerrilla of the FARC and the Government.


BluRadio, "European Union demands respect for the independence and decisions of the JEP", February 6, 2019, available at: https://www.bluradio.com/nacion/union-europea-pide-respeto-ante-la-independencia-y-decisiones-de-la-jep-204978-ie430


An examination of the obstacles that the JEP has faced in the exercise of its mission:


An article published by El Espectador examines the obstacles that the JEP has faced since its implementation. In particular, the article cites amongst the various obstacles; “the amendments to the Statutory Law of the JEP and the initial difficulties in the establishment of the JEP; the political debate on the issue of extradition; the proposals - which were finally rejected in Congress - aimed at restricting the functions of the JEP, such as the proposal to create a parallel jurisdiction for members of the security forces and the proposal not to allow access to confidential intelligence information or not take into account cases of sexual violence against minors; the revision of the Constitutional Court and the elimination of the obligation of civilian third parties to go to the JEP and finally, the delay in sending the rogatory letter to the United States in which the evidence was requested that would prove the alleged participation of Seuxis Paucias Hernández, known as "Jesús Santrich". The article ends by pointing to the smear campaign that has been carried out in recent days against the JEP in social networks as a result of the congressmen and followers of the Democratic Center on the subject of the letter rogatory.


El Espectador, "Against the current, the obstacles that JEP has faced", February 5, 2019, available at:https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/contra-la-corriente-los-obstaculos-que-ha-enfrentado-la-jep


A team of investigators from the Investigation and Accusation Unit of the JEP moves to the department of Chaquetá with the objective of obtaining information on the location of Hernán Darío Velásquez Saldarriaga aka 'El Paisa':


The team of investigators looking for "El Paisa "will conduct interviews and collect information in the area to determine displacements and known locations. With the results, the Unit will deliver a report within the term established by the Truth Recognition Room.


Caracol Radio, "JEP Commission goes to Miravalle in search of alias 'El Paisa'", February 5, 2019, available at:http://caracol.com.co/radio/2019/02/05/judicial/1549379010_400866.html


The Office of the Prosecutor asks to condemn Colonel Jorge Eliécer Plazas Acevedo for the murder of Jaime Garzón, despite the fact that he has requested to be admitted to the JEP:


The Prosecutor requested on Tuesday to condemn Colonel Jorge Eliécer Plazas Acevedo for the murder of the journalist and comedian Jaime Garzón Forero which occurred on August 13, 1999. The Colonel had applied to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, given that the cases for which he is being investigated for were committed in the middle of the armed conflict. Plazas Acevedo signed a commitment document before that jurisdiction on August 2. On Tuesday, February 5, a hearing was held in the specialized courts of Bogota to have the parties present their final arguments for the judge to decide on the matter.


El Tiempo, "Prosecutor's Office asks to convict Plazas Acevedo for Jaime Garzón's crime", February 5, 2019, available at: https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/investigacion/fiscalia-pide-condena-contra-coronel-por-homicidio-de-jaime-garzon-323154


What is the guarantee of non-extradition of the JEP?


The guarantee of non-extradition of the JEP is being debated in the case of the extradition of Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, known as "Jesús Santrich", but what exactly does it consist of?


In the Final Agreement signed by the Government and the FARC, the JEP was created to investigate and judge the most serious crimes committed by ex-members of this guerrilla and members of the public force during the conflict. To ensure that no ex-guerrilla was extradited to another country for crimes committed during the war, the guarantee of non-extradition was created. This guarantee consists of a special treatment within the transitional justice system for ex-guerrillas of the FARC who accepted the peace agreement signed with the Government, laying down their arms. This guarantee also welcomes relatives of up to the second degree of consanguinity or first degree of affinity.


The guarantee consists mainly of the fact that extradition or extradition measures may not be granted, for the purpose of extradition, in relation to ex-combatants for acts committed during the armed conflict, regardless of whether they occurred inside or outside of Colombia. However, this guarantee will only apply if the acts in question occurred before December 1, 2016 -when the Congress ratified the Final Agreement-, and for those former guerrillas who committed to appear in the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and No Repetition In cases where the offence was actually committed before December 1, the case will go to the Recognition Section to follow the process within the JEP. The person can obtain these benefits if it contributes to the truth and reparation of the victims.


If a former combatant committed a crime after December 1, 2016, the Review Section of the Court for Peace must evaluate the conduct to determine the exact date on which the act was committed. Following this rule, the JEP magistrates are enabled to explain that they are authorised to decree the practice of tests. If it was committed later, the JEP will refer the competent judicial authority to be investigated and tried in Colombia, without excluding the possibility of extradition.


For more information about the guarantee of non-extradition of the JEP, see here (aquí:)

El Espectador: Colombia2020, "Santrich Case: What is the guarantee of non-extradition in the JEP?", February 4, 2019, available at:https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/caso-santrich-que-es-la-garantia-de-no-extradicion-en-la-jep


The Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Colombia sends information about the former Senator Musa Besaile to the JEP:


After the former Senator Musa Besaile announced his intention to submit to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, for an investigation into ties with paramilitaries, the Supreme Court of Justice sent information about Besaile to the JEP - which must study whether or not to admit Besaile. Despite this sending of information, the Court has declared that it will not forward the complete file of the proceedings to the JEP, since the investigation before the Court is still ongoing.


This investigation that is linked to Besaile in the Court concerns aggravated conspiracy, for events that took place during 1998 when the list was integrated into the House of Representatives by Miguel Alfonso De La Espriella Burgos, by the Liberal Party, until 2006 "when he aspired to be re-elected in said corporation after the demobilisation of the paramilitary block Córdoba, led by Salvatore Mancuso. "


El Tiempo, "Corte sent information from Besaile to JEP but will continue investigating it", February 4, 2019, available at: https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/cortes/corte-envio-informacion-de-musa-besaile-a-jep-pero-seguira-investigandolo-por-parapolitica-322788


International experts will meet in Mérida (Extremadura, Spain) on February 21, 2019 to discuss the peace process in Colombia:


International experts in Colombia's peace process will meet in Merida on February 21, 2019 to analyse the peace process in Colombia, where they will stress the importance of the victims of the armed conflict, regardless of their current residence, being the axis of the construction of the process. One of the main objectives of this meeting will focus on the call to the Colombian Government to protect the life and work of social leaders, given that since the signing of peace in September 2016, the country has registered more than 450 homicides of leaders and activists, at the hands of illegal armed groups. The meeting will be attended by representatives of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth and Coexistence, the Search Unit for Persons Disappeared, and judges of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, three agencies that were created on the signing of the Peace Accords.


El Diario, "International experts will meet in Mérida to analyse the peace process in Colombia", February 2, 2019, available at: https://www.eldiario.es/eldiarioex/sociedad/Expertos-internacionales-reuniran-Merida-Colombia_0_862664693.html


Former congressman Álvaro Ashton will be detained by order of the JEP:


In August 2018, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace opened the doors to former congressman Álvaro Ashton, who was being prosecuted until then by the Supreme Court of Justice, for alleged links with paramilitary groups. The JEP made it clear that to define whether or not to accept Ashton's submission to that special justice, the former political leader should contribute to the clarification of the truth, design a reparation plan and not repeat that behavior again. While awaiting a decision, Ashton asked for conditional release, a request that the JEP denied on February 1, 2019. The document from the Juridical Situations Definition Room of the JEP analysed the project presented by the liberal ex senator to support the construction of truth, concluding that it is still not detailed enough, and granting 15 days more to Ashton's defence to expand upon it. The proposal of Ashton assures that it can unveil the way in which the Jose Pablo Diaz Front of the Self-defence United of Colombia would have co-opted the political and social sectors in the department, until they reached the point that the policy was modified in the region.


El Espectador, "Álvaro Ashton will be detained by order of the JEP", February 1, 2019, available at: https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/alvaro-ashton-seguira-detenido-por-orden-de-la-jep-articulo-837360ç


Seventy soldiers accused of homicide request to be admitted to the JEP:


Through the Committee of Reserves, retired soldiers and soldiers raised a petition for 70 active soldiers who are being prosecuted by the military criminal justice to proceed to the JEP. The defendants face accusations of homicide offences during their service in the Army's Tenth Armored Brigade in the departments of Cesar and La Guajira, and they are currently deprived of liberty in the Artillery Battalion Number 2 La Popa, in Valledupar.


The Herald, "In Cesar: 70 soldiers accused of murder request a trail in the JEP", February 1, 2019, available in: In Cesar: 70 soldiers accused of homicide request a trail in the JEP, available at: https://www.elheraldo.co/cesar/en-cesar-70-militares-acusados-de-homicidio-piden-pista-en-la-jep-593803


The JEP incorporates an ethnic approach within the Information Analysis Group (GRAI):


Last Friday, February 1, the JEP incorporated the ethnic approach into the Information Analysis Group (GRAI). In addition, the JEP had a conversation with the magistrates and judges who are part of the JEP's Ethnic Commission.


Special Jurisdiction for the JEP, Twitter, February 1, 2019, available:https://twitter.com/JEP_Colombia/status/1091473272783466496


The Investigation and Accusation Unit of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace will go to the department of Caquetá to provide assistance to the victims of the armed conflict:


The department of Caquetá is one of the regions most affected by the armed conflict in the country. For this reason, the Investigation and Accusation Unit of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) headed by its director Giovanni Álvarez, will arrive in the capital of Caqueta to provide assistance to the victims of the armed conflict.


Thus, Giovanni declared that this decision was due to a "study that was made inside the Investigation and Accusation Unit and of course the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, in which the places where the conflict was most cruel were taken into account. "


HSB News, "Care for victims of the armed conflict in Caquetá", January 31, 2019, available at: http://hsbnoticias.com/noticias/local/atencion-para-victimas-del-conflicto-armado-en-caqueta-496529


ACTUALIZACIÓN SEMANAL SOBRE LA JURISDICCIÓN ESPECIAL PARA LA PAZ (JEP)


( 1 Febrero 2019 – 8 Febrero 2019)


Para el Grupo Guernica, la labor desarrollada por el Sistema Integral de Verdad, Justicia, Reparación y No-Repetición de Colombia es esencial para implementar y consolidar el Acuerdo de Paz. Las víctimas del conflicto armado son el centro y la garantía de los esfuerzos por aclarar la verdad y obtener justicia por crímenes clave cometidos en el marco del conflicto armado, base imprescindible para construir una verdadera y duradera reconciliación. La Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP) tiene el potencial de desarrollar nuevos precedentes legales que puedan reconfigurar la justicia penal internacional y generar un legado fundamental en Latinoamérica.


Por todo ello, el Grupo Guernica publicará actualizaciones semanales sobre la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz para expandir el alcance de la JEP y generar debate alrededor de los casos, los procesos judiciales y la regulación de sus diferentes salas. Los resúmenes de las noticias serán publicados tanto en inglés como en español, junto a links que enlazan a los artículos originales:


La JEP organiza un encuentro para trabajar en coordinación con la Jurisdicción Especial Indígena:


El pasado 7 de Febrero, la Sala de Amnistía o Indulto de la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP) tuvo un encuentro con autoridades tradicionales Nej Wexs en Jambaló (Cauca) para trabajar en coordinación con la Jurisdicción Especial Indígena.


Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, Twitter, 7 de Febrero de 2019, disponible en: https://twitter.com/JEP_Colombia/status/1093653900283035649


El Presidente de Cámara revisa la Ley Estatutaria de la Justicia Especial de Paz antes de enviarla al Palacio de Nariño, solicitando al Senado “la corrección de omisiones” en dicha ley:


La Corte Constitucional anunció a finales de diciembre que envió la Ley Estatutaria de la Justicia Especial de Paz al Congreso para que se le diera trámite y entrara en vigencia. Sin embargo, dos meses más tarde la ley aún no ha entrado en vigor. Ante las críticas, el Encargado de la Cámara Alta, Ernesto Macías, ha declarado haber firmado la norma el 31 de enero, siendo ahora momento para que Alejandro Carlos Chacón, encargado de la Cámara Baja revise la ley y posteriormente la reenvíe firmada a Palacio. Sin embargo, Alejandro Carlos Chacón ha presentado algunas observaciones, citando ciertas “omisiones” en la Ley. Por ejemplo, Chacón ha apuntado que, en el pie de página correspondiente al artículo noveno, se habría omitido la frase “proteger los derechos de las víctimas; contribuir al logro de una paz estable y duradera y adoptar decisiones que otorguen plena seguridad jurídica”.


Finalmente, Chacón advierte que está listo para firmar “de manera inmediata” el texto, una vez se realicen las correcciones. De lo contrario, no firmará, con lo cual seguirá enredada la sanción presidencial.


BluRadio, “Presidente de Cámara revisa ley estatutaria de JEP antes de enviarla a Casa de Nariño”, 7 Febrero de 2019, disponible en: