Prospects for the International Criminal Court as regards the Justice and Peace Law

José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR)

This text is a global analysis of the legal framework used in the paramilitary demobilizations and the prospects for the application of the International Criminal Court as regards the Justice and Peace Law. It was published as a part of the proceedings from the seminar-workshop: Corte a la Impunidad – Colombia en la Mira de la Corte Penal Internacional, held in Bogotá on 2006. The organizations convening the event included the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH), Latin American Institute for Alternative Legal Services (ILSA), and the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR).

I Peace Dialogues and Demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia

“…it makes no sense to speak of a “peace process”
between the government and the paramilitaries, since
there has never been a war between these two forces.”[*]

The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo) has repeatedly maintained on countless occasions that the Colombian State is responsible for the creation, sponsorship and consolidation of paramilitary groups in Colombia. This assertion has been made not only on the basis of Colombian history and legislation favoring paramilitary structures, but has also been corroborated through pronouncements issued by different national and international bodies.

In spite of international rulings demonstrating that the State is responsible for paramilitarism, as well as the many recommendations issued by different international bodies to Colombia to dismantle paramilitary structures,[*] the Colombian State has ignored these opinions and, on the contrary, has done everything possible to institutionalize these very structures and consolidate their territorial, economic and political power in Colombia.

In this way, the “peace process”, which has attempted to be called such since its creation, cannot not be classified in this manner. “All political negotiations need as a basic requirement the existence of two antagonistic or at least distinct positions.”[*] However, paramilitary groups not only operate under the auspices of the armed forces and State security agencies, but also constitute a force that has never attempted to fundamentally alter the State (and even less abolish it) or interrupt its ongoing or temporary functioning. Additionally, there is no difference between the ideological principles concerning the State espoused by the establishment and those who defend paramilitary groups. …“

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