Global Insider: Shadow of ICC Playing Important Role in Colombia-FARC Negotiations

Global Insider: Shadow of ICC Playing Important Role in Colombia-FARC Negotiations

Early this month, Colombia’s inspector general said that if the Colombian government grants impunity to FARC guerillas as part of a peace deal, the International Criminal Court (ICC) should intervene. In an email interview, Alejandro Chehtman, an assistant professor at the Law School of the Torcuato Di Tella University specializing in international criminal law and international humanitarian law, explained the ICC’s involvement in Colombia.

WPR: What is the extent of the International Criminal Court’s involvement in Colombia at present?

Alejandro Chehtman: The relevance of the ICC in Colombia has slightly decreased since it first announced that Colombia was a situation under preliminary examination. At that time, from 2003 to 2005, the ICC prosecutor was personally involved in influencing the first attempts at what became the Justice and Peace Law, Colombia’s main transitional justice mechanism directed at the paramilitary forces. More recently, the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has kept official and unofficial connections with Colombia’s governmental authorities and civil society, reflected in its reports on preliminary examinations (2011, 2012 and 2013). The ICC’s capacity to open an investigation into the Colombian situation is an important element in the ongoing negotiations with the FARC. Furthermore, the ICC is also involved in Colombia indirectly. Namely, local actors have used the potential involvement of the ICC as a tool to steer not only domestic policy concerning the peace process with the guerrillas, but also the ongoing judicial proceedings under the Justice and Peace Law or ordinary criminal jurisdiction, including cases against government officials, particularly the “false positives” cases involving members of the army allegedly murdering civilians and then dressing their bodies in rebel uniforms.

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