Adam Isacson and Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli write that “The accords sought to place victims at the center, but Colombia’s Congress would push some victims into second-class status. WOLA urges Colombia’s high court to act.”Once President Santos signs the Special Peace Jurisdiction law, it goes to Colombia’s Constitutional Court for review. Colombia’s system empowers the Court to alter laws to harmonize them with the country’s Constitution and international commitments.The Constitutional Court is the best hope for stripping out this objectionable language in the transitional justice bill. Eleven years ago, the Court made essential changes to the “Justice and Peace Law” governing transitional justice for ex-paramilitary fighters. We urge it to play this role again.
This is crucial because in their current form, the new provisions in the transitional justice law are a slap in the conflict’s victims’ faces. They violate both the spirit and the intent of the peace accord—especially a part of the accord that took 19 long months to negotiate. If for some reason the Constitutional Court fails to bring Colombia’s transitional justice system in line with international standards and the spirit of the accords, WOLA will urge the International Criminal Court to act. WOLA