Colombia’s transitional justice tribunal can do more to address victim’s needs – new ICJ report

Colombia’s transitional justice tribunal, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP in its Spanish acronym) has made progress in fighting impunity, but can do more to address the needs and demands of victims of the country’s long civil war, the ICJ said in a report released in Bogota today.

The report Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz: análisis a un año de su entrada en funcionamiento (available only in Spanish) will be presented by a high-level mission composed of the President of the ICJ, Prof Robert Goldman (former President of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), the Vice President of the ICJ, Carlos Ayala (former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), and ICJ Commissioner Philippe Texier, former judge of the Court of Cassation of France.

The commissioners will meet with different Colombian authorities including the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, and the President of the JEP, Patricia Linares Prieto.

They will also meet with victims and other members of civil society.

The JEP is charged with prosecuting and punishing gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law committed during the country’s civil war.

The JEP was established by the Peace Agreement entered into between the Colombian government and the former armed group FARC-EP, on November 24 of 2016.

“The JEP has made progress in guaranteeing victims’ rights and fighting impunity for gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law,” said Prof Robert Goldman, ICJ’s President.

“But the JEP must do more to strengthen the effective participation of victims in its procedures, as well as to guarantee victims’ rights to justice and full reparation in compliance with international standards,” he added.

Accordingly, the report identifies ways by which the JEP can achieve these goals.

The ICJ also expresses concern about security threats faced by human rights defenders and victims and witnesses appearing before the JEP. The ICJ urges the JEP and other Colombian public authorities to adopt effective measures to guarantee their safety.

The ICJ also considers it is necessary to ensure respect for the judicial independence of the JEP against external pressures to ensure the proper performance of its functions.

The report describes the findings of a mission carried out by ICJ Commissioners Carlos Ayala, Wilder Tayler and Philippe Texier in January 2019. The report includes an analysis of the main actions and decisions taken by the JEP as well as relevant decisions of other public authorities. It reflects developments up to June 7, 2019.

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