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Weekly Update from The Special Jurisdiction of Peace in Colombia

Updated: Mar 5, 2019


The Guernica Group


February 2019


In Colombia from15 February - 22 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:


In Colombia, From the 15th of February to the 22nd of February


Andrés Mauricio Bohórquez, Cristian Santiago Sandoval and Juan Camilo Pulido Ribro (accused of the attack in Andino) deny having the will to avail themselves of the JEP:


Last week, more than 300 inmates belonging to paramilitary groups, FARC, ELN and other armed groups, sent a letter from the La Picota prison in Bogotá asking the JEP to be taken into account in the process of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition, alluding that "there are truths that are not yet known about the armed conflict in the country".


Andrés Mauricio Bohórquez, Cristian Santiago Sandoval and Juan Camilo Pulido Ribero stated that they did not know of the letter, to which they appeared as signatories, in which a group of prisoners asked that court to accept them. "We have no intention of entering the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). We cannot really speak about facts that we do not know anything about, "said Juan Camilo Pulido, who is accused by the Prosecutor's Office of being linked to the attack on the Andino commercial center in Bogotá and of being a member of the ELN.


Source:

El Espectador, "Accused of the attack in Andino deny wanting to enter the JEP", February 22, 2019, available at: https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/acusados-del-atentado-en-andino-niegan-querer-entrar-la-jep


Advances of the victim accreditation process in case 001 of the JEP:


The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) advances the process of accreditation of victims in case 001, called "Illegal retention of people by the FARC-EP" , known as kidnapping.


As the announced versions are made, to which the 31 former members of the secretariat and staff of the FARC-EP must appear, the JEP Recognition Room has accredited 89 victims and appointed them a judicial representative of the Autonomous Advisory System and Defense (SAAD), when they require it. The 89 accredited victims had previously requested to be special interveners in case 001 to exercise their rights to receive protective measures, to know the truth about what happened, to do justice and restore the damage caused by the crimes. Amongst the accredited, are people who were allegedly kidnapped for the purpose of exchange, extortion and other forms of kidnapping. According to Article 27.D of Law 1922 of 2018, victims may provide evidence, and once the versions of those appearing are transferred, they may submit observations, request new evidence and receive a copy of the file. In addition, accredited victims will be able to attend the public hearing of recognition, present observations on the resolution of conclusions and make observations on the restorative projects presented by the parties. However, victims of gender-based violence, including those of sexual violence, will have the right not to be confronted with their aggressor. Those persons who consider themselves victims, on the facts related in case 001, can request their accreditation at any time before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.


Source:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "Advances Victim Accreditation Process in Case 001", February 21, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Avanza-proceso-de-acreditaci%C3%B3n-de-v%C3%ADctimas-en-el-caso-001-.aspx


The JEP connects with the indigenous peoples:


On the National Day of Native Languages ​​in Colombia, which is celebrated today and advocates the protection of the cultural and ethnolinguistic diversity of the country, the Ethnic Commission of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP ) joined efforts with indigenous social leaders to produce informative materials in the native languages ​​of the people most affected by the armed conflict.


The first part of this strategy was to carry out the translation into eight native languages ​​of the radial wedge that invites the social organizations of the indigenous communities of the departments included in Cases 002 (Nariño), 004 (Urabá) and 005 (Cauca) to make and deliver your reports to the JEP. The translation of the informative materials into the Embera Chamí, bid by the JEP to approach the indigenous peoples by respecting their particular identities. These materials will circulate through community media, which are the most used in the regions mentioned above.


Additionally, an informative video was produced with voices of social leaders from different communities explaining what participation, articulation and inter-jurisdictional coordination looks like, taking into account Chapter 15 of the General Regulation of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, on Coordination with Special Indigenous and other ethnic justice.


Listen to the JEP message in eight different indigenous languages, here (aquí.)


Source:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "The JEP connects with indigenous peoples", February 21, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/La-JEP-se-conecta-con-los-pueblos-%C3%ADndigenas.aspx


The International Criminal Court (ICC) insists that the JEP needs a defined legal framework:


The International Criminal Court, through its deputy prosecutor, James Stewart, expressed the importance that the JEP has a defined legal framework, referring to the pending presidential sanction of the Statutory Law of Jurisdiction. "If this were not the case, this could be a setback and we would have to consider its implications," he warned. James Stewart said that the ICC supports the JEP as the key mechanism of transitional justice adopted in accordance with the peace agreements in Colombia.


The International Criminal Court is the highest international tribunal that judges those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, provided for in the Rome Statute. The ICC is making a preliminary examination of the Colombian case and has permanently followed the decisions of the Colombian State so that these crimes do not remain unpunished.


See the statement of James Stewart, vice prosecutor of the ICC, here.(aquí.)


Source:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "International Criminal Court insists that JEP have a defined legal framework", February 20, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Corte-Penal-Internacional-insiste-en-que-JEP-tenga-un-marco-legal-definido.aspx


The Ambassador of the European Union in Colombia expresses its support for the Statutory Law of the JEP:


On 20th February, from the Valley of the Sibundoy in Putumayo, Ambassador Patricia Llombart assured that the European Union trusts that President Iván Duque will soon adopt the statutory law, which would provide full legal support to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).


"The JEP is a body constitutionally established in the peace agreements with the FARC. We see this system as one of the pillars of the agreement, fundamental for truth, for reconciliation, for justice and for non-repetition, "he said.


Source:

El Espectador, "We are confident that the statutory law of the JEP will soon be adopted: Ambassador of the European Union", February 20, 2019, available at: https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/confiamos-en-que-se-adopte-pronto-la-ley-estatutaria-de-la-jep-embajadora-de-la-union-europea


Ex-senator Rubén Quintero asks to be included in the JEP:


The ex-senator and ex- representative to the Chamber, Rubén Darío Quintero Villada, was sentenced by the Supreme Court of Justice to pay a sentence of eight years in prison and a fine of more than 3 billion of pesos, after being found guilty of having links with former paramilitary leader Freddy Rendón Herrera, aka the 'Alemán'. In a request sent to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, Quintero requests to be admitted to the JEP.


Source:

Channel 1, "Exenador Rubén Quintero asks to be included in the JEP", February 19, 2019, available at: https://canal1.com.co/noticias/exsenador-ruben-quintero-pide-incluido-la-jep/


Patricia Linares, president of the JEP, responds in a press conference to the concerns about the Statutory Law of the JEP after the statements of the Prosecutor Néstor Humberto Martínez:


Patricia Linares, the president of the JEP, responded to the concerns that arose after the statements by the prosecutor Néstor Humberto Martínez, who sent a letter to the President of the Republic, Iván Duque Márquez, expressing fears regarding possible impunity of those appearing before the JEP. In the first place, Patricia Linares said that the system was designed to guarantee the victims, the country and the international community that there will be no such impunity and that those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity will be punished. Judge Linares insisted that jurisdiction of the Jurisdiction covers crimes committed before December 1, 2016. Consequently, crimes committed after this date would be the jurisdiction of the ordinary jurisdiction, so that the Prosecutor's Office would maintain its powers.


Additionally, Patricia Linares emphasized that it is not possible to ignore Sentence C-80 of 2018 of December 19, 2018 of the Constitutional Court, in which the Court already proffered "a detailed and exhaustive examination of each and every one of the norms that were produced in the Congress of the Republic, after a wide debate in which all the political parties participated, that consigned their agreements in those norms that will be Law of the Republic, once the President sanctions and promulgates said law, as established by the Constitutional Court.” According to Linares, what is being reopened is another political debate and the Statutory Law of the JEP is fundamental for the proper functioning of the jurisdiction created within the framework of the Peace Agreement signed with the FARC, which guarantees the rights of the victims and the legal security of all those appearing.


Sources:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "Statutory Law of the JEP" The Constitutional Court has already given the last word ", February 19, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Ley-Estatutaria-de-la-JEP--%E2%80%9CLa-Corte-Constitucional-ya-dio-la-%C3%BAltima-palabra%E2%80%9D.aspx


Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "Communiqué to public opinion", February 18, 2019, available at:https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Comunicado-de-la-JEP-sobre-las-opiniones-del-Fiscal-General-de-la-Naci%C3%B3n.aspx


The former leader of the FARC, Pablo Catatumbo, appears before the JEP:


In the last week, the voluntary versions of the 31 former guerrilla fighters appeared before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) for the case 001, relating to illegal withholdings. The first to appear was the former chief of the extinct FARC guerrilla, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, better known as Timochenko. Now is the turn Pablo Catatumbo, former guerrilla leader and now senator of the FARC party. Catatumbo delivered his free version on Monday, February 18 at 8:00 in the morning before the Truth Recognition Room of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).


The former guerrilla leader will voluntarily contribute with the information he has and can help clarify what happened to the 6,162 cases relating to illegal detention, among which are extortion, kidnappings, disappearances and even homicides.


Source:

El Espectador: Colombia 2020, "The turn of Pablo Catatumbo before the JEP", February 18, 2019, available at:https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/el-turno-de-pablo-catatumbo-ante-la-jep


Academics, intellectuals, politicians and journalists support the JEP and its Statutory Law:


"If the Statute Law of the JEP were to be challenged, it would be a fatal blow to transitional justice and the peace agreement." This was stated by the Colombian magazine Semanal in relation to the decision that the President of the Republic, Iván Duque, must take soon, on the sanction of the Statutory Law of the JEP, for which he has until March 11. The magazine recalled that "before Colombia and the world, Duque pledged to respect the agreement and the statutory law of the JEP is part of it." In his analysis, he also devoted special emphasis to the fact that if the law were to be objected, the government of President Duque would enter into a profound clash with the Congress and the Constitutional Court.


Several opinion leaders have agreed with the importance of supporting the Statutory Law of the JEP at this time, referring to it as the "backbone". These academics, intellectuals, politicians and journalists have joined a campaign in which they appear carrying a poster with hashtags such as #estoyconlajep, #apoyolaleyjep, #defiendolajep or #dejentrabajarlajep, with the aim of expressing their support for the institution.


Source:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "Academics, intellectuals, politicians and journalists support the JEP with #yodefiendoalajep", February 18, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Acad%C3%A9micos,-intelectuales,-pol%C3%ADticos-y-periodistas-respaldan-a-la-JEP.aspx


227 victim groups ask Duque not to object to the Statutory Law of the JEP:


In a letter addressed to President Iván Duque, 227 groups ranging from social organizations, human rights groups and victims, asked the president to sign the Statutory Law of Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), so that the last missing piece of the puzzle, preventing transitional justice from working fully is no longer missing and its operation can come into full force. In this letter, the victims have expressed their concern about the possibility that, in the absence of this norm, the processes that have been initiated in the JEP will be frozen or left in limbo, also taking into account that many of them have to respond (13,465 members of the FARC and the Public Force have committed themselves) to this model of justice recognised worldwide.


Source:

El Tiempo, "227 associations of victims ask Duque not to object to JEP law", February 18, 2019, available at: https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/jep-colombia/227-organizaciones-de-victimas-le-piden-a-duque-que-no-objete-ley-de-jep-328216


President Iván Duque Márquez states that he will not object JEP's Statutory Law:


The President of the Republic, Iván Duque Márquez, assured that in spite of the concerns he has in relation to the Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), several days ago she was sent by Congress to the Presidential sanction, he will not object because it has passed constitutional review. "I'm not going to enter into controversies with the Constitutional Court, I have a concern, but unfortunately that concern is not objectionable because it came out of the text. It seems to me that it is not good for the country that crimes such as the violation of children can be considered as, “crimes of conflict” because for me there is nothing to justify the abuse of a child, "said the president. In this regard, the president explained that although he can not object to the JEP, he is considering the possibility of introducing new legislation that will not allow these crimes against minors to be included in the benefits received by those who benefit from this jurisdiction, created in the framework of the peace agreements with the extinct guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).


Sources:

The Colombian, "Despite disagreement, Duque will not object to the Statutory Law of the JEP", February 18, 2019, available at: https://www.elcolombiano.com/colombia/acuerdos-de-gobierno-y-farc/gobierno-de-ivan-duque-no-objetara-ley-estatutaria-de-la-jep-HH10245121


RT, "Iván Duque will not object to the law of the Peace Jurisdiction in Colombia", February 20, 2019, available at: https://actualidad.rt.com/video/306124-duque-objetar-ley-jurisdiccion-paz-colombia


Inhabitants of several regions of the Colombian Caribbean coast want to ask the JEP to formally accept Enilce López, known as the 'Gata', and her children:


According to Uber Serrano Gómez, a community leader in Mompox, Bolívar, who is at the head of that initiative, the objective is to ask the JEP to grant speed to the request that was made by Enilce López - alias "La Gata" and her family, implicated in several events that link them to the paramilitaries. The 'Gata', currently linked to paramilitary groups, is serving a 37-year sentence for a homicide and is under house arrest after suffering several health problems.


Source:

BluRadio, "With a 'firmatón' they intend to ask the JEP to accept 'La Gata' and their children," February 17, 2019, available at: https://www.bluradio.com/nacion/con-una-firmaton-pretenden-pedirle-la-jep-que-acepte-la-gata-y-sus-hijos-206148-ie435


The JEP publishes a post about everything you need to know about the voluntary versions:


The Special Jurisdiction for Peace has published on its website a series of frequently asked questions about the voluntary versions. It should be remembered that the voluntary versions in the JEP are different from those carried out in the Justice and Peace process - where they were called free versions - since in the JEP these are carried out based on a strict agenda, previously defined by the Chamber and based on the reports received and concerning the context of the cases.


This and many other issues - such as who the parties are, why they are private or if the society may know at any time the statements of the parties - are resolved in the post of the JEP. To consult these and other questions, consult the JEP post here( aquí.)


Source:

Special Jurisdiction for Peace, "Versions within case 001, based on the report of the Attorney General of the Nation, called" illegal retention of persons by the FARC-EP ", February 15, 2019, available at: https://www.jep.gov.co/Sala-de-Prensa/Paginas/Gu%C3%ADa-para-entender-las-versiones-en-la-JEP.aspx


Victims request progresses in cases of Generals questioned by extrajudicial executions:


After the change of the military leadership made by President Iván Duque, a debate has opened concerning two promoted generals - Diego Villegas and Marcos Pinto - questioned over cases concerning extrajudicial executions. The victims claim advances before the JEP and the ordinary justice.


Diego Villegas Muñoz was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General of the Army last December, in the middle of the controversy. He is currently being investigated for his possible participation in the extrajudicial execution of Ómer Alcides Villada, which took place on March 25, 2008 in Montebello, Antioquia. He is another high-ranking official who has asked for a lead in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, along with retired Generals Mario Montoya Uribe and Henry Torres Escalante, all of whom are being prosecuted for the infamous false positives in the country.


On the other hand, the JEP received on the last day of 2018 a report from the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective in which it has requested that Army General Marcos Pinto be referred to as a voluntary version, who days before was appointed as commander of the 13th Brigade, in Bogota. The petition is motivated to promote the clarification of one of the denunciations of extrajudicial executions committed by the Infantry Battalion No. 27 "Magdalena", of the Ninth Brigade, and of the Infantry Battalion No. 10 "Atanasio Girardot" of the Fourth Brigade , in which Pinto was the Commander.


Sources:

El Espectador, "They request advances in cases of generals questioned by extrajudicial executions", February 15, 2019, available at: https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/jep/piden-avances-en-casos-de-generales-cuestionados-por-ejecuciones-extrajudiciales


El Espectador, "Army defends promotion of Diego Villegas Muñoz to brigadier general", February 18, 2019, available at: https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/ejercito-defiende-ascenso-de-diego-villegas-munoz-brigadier-general-articulo-840433


The JEP expresses concern over the Peace-building Pact budget: