Justice and peace? The role of law in resolving Colombia’s civil conflict

Burbidge, P.K. 2008. Justice and peace? The role of law in resolving Colombia’s civil conflict. International Criminal Law Review. 8 (3), pp. 557-587.

TitleJustice and peace? The role of law in resolving Colombia’s civil conflict
AuthorsBurbidge, P.K.
Abstract

The Colombian Parliament's Justice and Peace law of 2005, introduced by the government of President Alvaro Uribe, allows members of armed groups involved in Colombia's 40-year old conflict to re-enter civilian life by paying an alternative penalty of 5-8 years' prison, even where their crimes concern mass-murder. The process is conditional on a full confession and the proper recompense for the victims. The Law however benefits primarily the pro-state paramilitaries, as the left-wing guerrilla groups have yet to make peace, and has thus been described as a transitional justice system without the transition. This article considers the provisions of the 2005 law against the background of the Constitutional Court's 2006 decision on its validity and the requirements of international criminal law and human rights law. It considers whether it satisfies the requirements of the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over Colombia's conflict but with an opt-out till 2009 for war-crimes. Will the process resolve the problem of Colombia's "impunity" - the failure to prosecute paramilitary crimes - which has been condemned by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights? In conclusion it compares the process to other transitional justice systems in South Africa and Northern Ireland.

KeywordsTransitional justice, human rights, international criminal court, war crimes, amnesty, political crimes, adequate sentence
JournalInternational Criminal Law Review
Journal citation8 (3), pp. 557-587
ISSN1567-536X
Year2008
PublisherMartinus Nijhoff
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1163/157181208X308556
Publication dates
Published2008

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