Thursday, September 30, 2010

Demobilization and Reparation in Colombia

Jemima García-Godos and Knut Andreas O. Lid, "Transitional Justice and Victims' Rights Before the End of a Conflict: The Unusual Case of Colombia."  Journal of Latin American Studies 42 (2010): 487-516. [and at least for now it is ungated, as is the entire current issue of JLAS]


In a context of continuing armed conflict, a comprehensive scheme of transitional justice has been developed in Colombia since 2005 through the Law of Justice and Peace, with the aim of achieving peace with one of the armed actors in the conflict, the paramilitary groups. The clear link between the demobilisation of illegal armed groups and the rights of the victims is the main feature of the Colombian process. This article provides a systematic review of the implementation of the law, focusing on the institutions, mechanisms and procedures put in place to fulfil its goals. Emphasis is given to the legal category of ‘victim’, victims' rights and victim reparation measures. By exploring how the scheme works in principle and in practice, we are able to assess the prospects for victims' rights in Colombia today.

Unfortunately, the abstract doesn't actually address the two key points in the paper.  First, reparations while a conflict continues is highly unusual.  Second, the process of reparations for abuses by paramilitary groups (the article is not about the FARC) is uneven but going quite well.

Our review of the implementation of the Law of Justice and Peace indicates that there has been a great deal of progress with regard to the establishment of mechanisms and procedures. Public institutions mandated to implement the various aspects of the law have been created and are operating. This, by itself, is no small achievement. In the particular case of Colombia, where the state and its institutions have had relatively little presence in vast areas of the national territory, and where there is a deeply rooted mistrust of the state in general, the implementation of a legal instrument such as the Law of Justice and Peace is a challenging task. Yet regulations have been formulated, approved and implemented, forms have been designed, registration is taking place, and information mechanisms explaining the process are being developed. 

It is an interesting read, particularly for details on the laws and institutions crafted to deal with demobilization and victims' rights, but also for the ways in which those laws could have positive repercussions for other types of victims.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP