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"The agreement is being seriously damaged"

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Autor: 
Consejo Político Nacional

Members of the negotiating team of the Colombian State and of the FARC-EP, congressmen of diverse political formations, ex-ministers, victims, academics and leaders of civil society, sent a letter to António Guterrez, Secretary General of the UN. The letter is in response to the objections announced by President Iván Duque to the Statutory Law of the JEP.


Bogotá DC, 12 March 2019. Members of the delegations that on behalf of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP elaborated the Peace Agreement; congressmen from the peace commissions of the Senate of the Republic and the House of Representatives; victims of the armed conflict, academics and leaders of representative organizations and institutions of Colombian civil society, expressed in a letter to António Gutérrez, Secretary General of the United Nations, their "concern for the attempts to seriously damage the implementation of the Agreement, the structure and the functioning of the JEP, as well as the system designed to honor the rights of the victims."

The letter is in response to the objections made yesterday by the president of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, to the Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, despite the fact that this was already under review by the Constitutional Court.

"Many of the objections that have been raised are aimed at ignoring decisions that the Constitutional Court took last year on that law. In other words, resorting to the figure of the objection by inconvenience, there is an attempt to ignore the decision through which the Court declared constitutional some norms of the law, with the condition that they were interpreted in the way as the sentence indicates", the advocates of the peace agreement said in their the letter.

The reason why the letter was sent to Gutérrez has to do with the fact that the then president of Colombia brought to the United Nations two copies of the peace agreement that the Colombian government signed with the FARC-EP guerrillas “for the end of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace”.

One copy was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, and the other to the Security Council of the United Nations, as it had been agreed by the negotiating teams.

Finally, the signatories of the letter ask Secretary Gutérrez and the Security Council of the UN, to which they have sent copy of the letter, to continue to strictly monitoring the Colombian situation. "We are aware of the significance that the success of the peace process and its model of transitional justice have for our country and for the world," they say.

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LETTER TO António Guterres

Bogotá D. C., 11 March 2019

 

Mr. António Guterres

Secretary General of the United Nations

New York

 

Dear Mr. Secretary:

 

On 17 September 2016, the then president of Colombia brought to the United Nations Organization two copies of the Peace Agreement signed by the Colombian State with the FARC-EP guerrilla "for the end of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace”; one was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the other to the United Nations Security Council, as agreed by the negotiating teams.

The fifth point of this agreement is devoted to the rights of the victims and, in particular, to the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, of which the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, is a part. The Colombian Congress incorporated into the Political Constitution the structural elements of the aforementioned System and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, ratifying that this would be the institution in charge of investigating, judging and punishing the most serious and representative crimes that occurred during and in connection with the armed conflict.

On January 24 of this year, after examining the report of the UN Verification Mission for the peace process in Colombia, the members of the Security Council "[r]eiterated the need to fully respect independence and autonomy of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and underscored the importance of being given political and practical support to enable it to achieve its objective of guaranteeing the rights of the victims. They also expressed their support for the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition, whose role is essential for the establishment of truth and reconciliation."

In the same way, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, has supported the construction of peace between the State and the FARC-EP, and has affirmed that the Final Agreement "[r]ecognise the central place of the victims in the process and its legitimate aspirations for justice." It also recalled that "[t]his aspirations must be fully addressed, through measures that ensure that those responsible for their suffering are genuinely placed at the disposal of justice," and that “[it] is expected that the Special Jurisdiction to La Paz [...] carry out this function and focus on those most responsible for the most serious crimes committed during the armed conflict. This promise of accountability must become a reality to ensure that the people of Colombia take full advantage of the benefits of peace."

In development of the preliminary examination carried out by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC in relation to the Colombian situation, in various pronouncements it has called on the authorities of our country to speed up the functioning of the JEP without delay or obstacles. In this way, Mr. James Stewart, Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC, on a visit to Colombia on 1 November 2018, insisted on the need to allow "the JEP magistrates to do their work."

Despite the clarity of all these messages from influential institutions of the international community, the government of President Iván Duque Márquez persists in formulating new obstacles, or in attempting to revive debates already overcome in the legislative process of the norms that should regulate the functioning of the newly inaugurated transitional justice system. The most recent of these obstacles is the set of objections to the Statutory Law of the JEP that the President of the Republic has presented to the Congress, despite the fact that said law was already subjected to control by the Constitutional Court. This is particularly worrisome because many of the objections that have been raised are aimed at ignoring decisions that the Constitutional Court took last year on that law. In other words, resorting to the figure of the objection by inconvenience, is trying to be ignored the decision through which the Court declared constitutional some norms of the law, with the condition that they were interpreted in the way as the sentence itself indicates.

On 20 February, faced with what was then only a possibility that the law was objected to by President Duque, Deputy Attorney General Stewart underscored "the importance of the JEP having a definitive legal framework," and was emphatic in warning that "[I]t not being the case, this could be a setback and we would have to consider its implications".

Unfortunately, the issue is not limited to the presidential objections to the Statutory Law of the JEP, which in fact is already very serious. The Government and its bench in Congress have announced the filing of constitutional and legal reform projects to modify the new jurisdiction, which would not only mean a unilateral modification of the peace agreement, but ignorance of the the constitutional norms that consecrate the fundamental principles that should govern the functioning of the JEP.

One of the issues on which they want to make adjustments is the investigation and prosecution of members of the Public Force. The Democratic Center, a government party, has said long ago that members of the security forces have no guarantees of impartiality in the JEP. Both the Peace Agreement and the Political Constitution of Colombia establish the unbreakable nature of the JEP, so that it would be the only one competent to investigate, prosecute and punish both ex-guerrilla fighters and those members of the Public Force that have committed crimes in the development of the armed conflict. While it is true that the Constitution also says that within the JEP the treatment of members of the armed forces must be symmetrical, balanced, equitable, simultaneous, and differentiated in some aspects, the Constitutional Court has already specified that the scope of this last expression does not mean that an ad-hoc jurisdiction can be created to be exclusively responsible for investigating and judging them.

In order for the JEP to achieve its objective of calling those responsible for crimes against humanity, war, and, in general, serious human rights violations to render judicial accounts, it must have all the institutional, financial and legal tools that need according to the size of your task. Otherwise, risks for the full exercise of their competences and scenarios could arise in which the lack of legal tools would favor impunity and limit the guarantee of the rights of the victims. As an example of the risks involved in the attitude of President Duque, it is worth remembering that it is in that law that he is now objecting, where the financial autonomy of the JEP is guaranteed, whose budget has already been questioned by the government party qualifying it of exaggeratedly high.

 

Mr. Secretary:

Those of us who signed this letter are members of the delegations that, on behalf of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP, elaborated the Peace Agreement; congressmen who are in the peace commissions of the Senate of the Republic and of the House of Representatives; ex-ministers and former government officials; victims of the armed conflict, leaders of representative organizations and institutions of Colombian civil society, academics, opinion columnists and intellectuals, citizens who work for peace and national reconciliation.

We express our deep concern at the attempts to seriously harm the implementation of the Agreement, the structure and functioning of the JEP, as well as the system designed to honor the rights of the victims.

We are aware of the significance that the success of the peace process and its model of transitional justice have for our country and for the world.

For all these reasons, we ask that in the next report of the UN Verification Mission to the Security Council the facts mentioned in this letter be taken into account.

We send a copy of this letter to the members of the UN Security Council and to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Sincerely,

Negotiating Team of the National Government in the Dialogues for Peace

- Humberto de la Calle Lombana

Former head of the peace team and former vice president of the Republic

- Sergio Jaramillo

Peace commissioner and ex-peace negotiator

- María Ángela Holguín

Former peace negotiator and former Chancellor of the Republic

- Juan Fernando Cristo Bustos

Former peace negotiator and former Minister of the Interior

- Rafael Pardo

Former peace negotiator and former minister

- Frank Pearl

Former peace negotiator and former commissioner for peace

- Roy Leonardo Barreras Montealegre

Former Peace negotiator and senator Partido U

 

FARC Negotiating Team in the Dialogues for Peace

 

- Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri

President of the FARC party

- Pablo Catatumbo

Former Peace negotiator and senator of the FARC party

- Pastor Alape

Former Peace negotiator and executive of the FARC party

- Julián Gallo Cubillos

Former Peace negotiator and senator FARC party

- Victoria Sandino

Former Peace negotiator and senator of the FARC party

- Marcos Calarcá

Former Peace negotiator and representative of the FARC party

- Rodrigo Granda Escobar

Former Peace negotiator and leader of the FARC party

 

Other personalities that subscribe:

 

- Abbot Colorado Jesus

Journalist and documentary photographer

- Antequera José

Human rights defender activist

- Arevalo Julián

Dean Faculty of Economics Externado University

 

- Arias Wilson

Senator Polo Democrático Alternativo

- Avella Esquivel Aida Yolanda

Senator Coalition List of Decency

- Ávila Martínez Ariel

Deputy Director Peace and Reconciliation Foundation

- Alejandra neighborhoods

Director Electoral Observation Mission (MOE)

- Bejarano Guzmán Ramiro

Opinion columnist and lawyer

- Bernal Luz Marina

Leader of the mothers of the ‘false positive’ victims

- - Bolívar Gustavo

Senator Coalición Lista de la Decencia

- Borja Díaz Wilson Alfonso

Former representative of the Chamber and politician

- Botero Catalina

Former Special spokesperson of Freedom of Expression of CIDH/OEA and lawyer

- Cabrera Mauricio

Economist

- Cala Suarez Jairo Reinaldo

Representantive - FARC

- Cárdenas Jhon Jairo

Representative Partido U

- Carrascal Mafe

Political Activist

- Carreño Carlos Alberto

Representantive FARC

- Castilla Alberto

Senator Polo Democrático Alternativo

- Castillejo Alejandro

Professor University de Los Andes

- Celis Luis Eduardo

Analyst on peace and armed conflict issues

- Cepeda Castro Iván

Senator Polo Democrático Alternativo

- Cerón Ángela

Human Rights Defensor

- Cristo Bustos Andrés

Senator Partido Liberal

- De Gamboa Camila

University Professor

- Díaz Uribe Eduardo

Former director of the Agency for Substitution of Illicit crops

- Duque Lisandro

Cinema Director and columnist

- Dussan Jaime

Former senator of the Republic and politician

- Escobar Ángela María

Coordinator Red de Mujeres Víctimas y Profesionales

 

- Estupiñan Liliana

University Professor

- Fries Martínez Bertha Lucia

Victim of the attack at Club EL Nogal

- Galán Juan Manuel

Former senator and politician

- Garcés Córdoba Mariana

Former minister of Culture

- García Lidio Arturo

Senator Partido Liberal

- García Peña Daniel

Former high commissioner for peace and columnist

- García Realpe Guillermo

Senator Partido Liberal Colombiano

- Gaviria Alejandro

Former minister of health

- Gil Andrés

President of the National Association  Zonas de Reserva Campesina

- Gil Savastano Laura Gabriela

Director Website La Línea del Medio

- Goebertus Estrada Juanita María

Representative Partido Alianza Verde

- Gómez Londoño Luis Ernesto

Former deputy Interior minister

- González Arana Roberto

Historian and university professor

- González Benedicto de Jesús

Representative of FARC party

- González Posso Camilo

Former minister and researcher

- González Roberto

University Professor

- Henao Juan Carlos

Former president of the Constitutional Court

- Herrera Botta Adriana

Businesswoman

- Hommes Rudolf

Former minister of Finance and columnist

- Juviano Catherine

Journalist and social activist

- Kohon Mariela

Former advisor to the FARC Peace Delegation and former directo of Justice for Colombia

- Lara Salive Patricia

Writer and columnist

- Leal Buitrago Francisco

University professor and researcher

- León Magdalena

Sociologist and Doctor Honoris Causa National University

- Leyva Durán Álvaro

Former minister and former constituent

- López Alexander

Senator Polo Democrático Alternativo

- López Montaño Cecilia

Former Labor Minister

- López Obregón Clara

Former Labor Minister

- López Claudia

Executive Partido Alianza Verde and former senator

- Lozada Vargas Juan Carlos

Representative Partido Liberal Colombiano

- Lozano Correa Angélica Lisbeth

Senator Partido Alianza Verde

- Mantilla Ignacio

Former dean of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia

- Márquez Mina Francia Elena

Member of Proceso de Comunidades  Negras and winner of the Prize Goldman for Environment

- Martínez Diego

Member of the Juridical Commission during the Peace Talks

- Marulanda Gómez Luis Iván

Senator Partido Alianza Verde

- Medina Henry

General (r)

- Miranda Peña Katherine

Representantive Partido Alianza Verde

- Mockus Antanas

Senator Partido Alianza Verde

- Monsalve Darío de Jesús

Archbishop Cali

- Muñoz Lopera León Fredy

Representative Partido Alianza Verde

- Navarro Antonio

Executive Partido Alianza Verde and former senator

- Navas Talero Germán

Representative Polo Democrático Alternativo

- Orejuela Libardo

Former dean of Universidad Libre del Valle

- Pardo Alberto

Director MundiPaz

- Paz Carlos Arcesio

Businessman

- Parra Gabriela

Journalist

- Pizarro Rodríguez María José

Representative Coalición Lista de la Decencia

- Quintero Calle Daniel

Former deputy minister

- Racero Mayorca David Ricardo

Representative Coalición Lista de la Decencia

- Ramírez Sandra

Senator FARC

- Restrepo Álvaro

Director Colegio del Cuerpo

- Reyes Alvarado Yesid

Former minister of Justice

- Ríos José Noé

Former deputy minister and former peace negotiator with ELN

- Rivera Flórez Guillermo

Former Interior Minister

- Robledo Gómez Ángela María

Representative Colombia Humana

- Robledo Jorge Enrique

Senator Polo Democrático Alternativo

- Rodríguez Roosvelt

Senator Partido de la U

- Rojas Jorge E.

Former secretary Integración Social

- Romero Marco

Director of the Master in Public Policies at Universidad Nacional and director of Codhes

- Rozo Rengifo Juan Sebastián

Former Minister of TICS

- Sáez de Ibarra María Belén

Director of Patrimony Universidad Nacional

- Salcedo Doris

Sculpture

- Saldarriaga Óscar

Academic and researcher at the Universidad Javeriana

- Sanabria Luis Emil

Director of Redepaz

- Sanguino Páez Antonio

Senator Partido Alianza Verde

- Sánchez Gonzalo

Former director of the Centro de Memoria Histórica and university researcher

- Sánchez María Eugenia

Women’s House - Casa de la Mujer

- Sánchez Olga Amparo

Women’s House - Casa de la Mujer

- Sanín José Luciano

Director of Viva la Ciudadanía

- Santiago Enrique

Member of  the Juridical Commission during peace talks

- Serpa Horacio José

Senator Partido Liberal

- Socarrás Reales Fredys Miguel

Former deputy Labor minister

- Toloza Francisco Javier

Former Peace spokesperson

- Ungar Bleier Elizabeth

Former director of Transparencia por Colombia

- Valencia Agudelo León

Director Fundación Paz y Reconciliación

- Vargas Velásquez Alejo

Director Centro de Pensamiento y Seguimiento al Diálogo de Paz – Universidad Nacional

- Velasco Luis Fernando

Senator Partido Liberal

 

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