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Friday, 17 November 2017 19:49

Open Letter to the UN General Secretary

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Bogotá, Colombia, 16 november 2017

Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, New York, USA

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

I convey to you the affectionate greetings of our political party PEOPLE’S ALTERNATIVE REVOLUTIONARY FORCE, born following the development of the Havana Agreements, signed between the Colombian government and the former guerrilla movement of the FARC-EP, and near to the celebration of the first year from its Final signature at the Teatro Colón de Bogotá.

My purpose in personally addressing you, is to express not just our concern, but our highest alarm for the way the Colombian State is behaving as to the implementation of the agreements. As you are aware, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, your Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs, has recently ended his visit to Colombia, where he was able to personally verify the State's non-compliance with the agreements.

In the act with which he closed his visit to our country, Mr. Feltman warned about the UN concern about three key issues, namely: the state of  members of the FARC reincorporation, the security situation in the former areas of conflict and legal uncertainties for members of the FARC, as a result of delays in the approval of key legislation regarding political participation, as well as because judicial review in progress.

Surely Mr. Feltman will inform you in detail, so I will focus exclusively on the last concern expressed, since on the night before the end of his visit to Colombia, two things happened: the sentence C-17 of 2017 of the Constitutional Court (declaring the Legislative Act 001 of 2017 that created the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition), and approval by the Senate of the Republic of several articles of the statutory bill on the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which as a whole constitute open violations of the Final Agreement, of which Mr. Feltman could not learned in depth, and which now I will explain in summary:

Although the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Colombia declares the aforementioned Integral System to be in accordance with the Constitution of the country, it adopts resolutions that modify in their essence key points of the Final Agreement:

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace was conceived and adopted in the Agreements, as a system of justice of an exceptional and transitory nature, by means of which not only the termination of the conflict was sought, but also the end of the impunity that has characterized the system of traditional justice in Colombia. That is why its absolute independence from ordinary justice was consecrated.

The aforementioned Court sentence eliminates such independence, and even subordinates the JEP to the decisions of constitutional and ordinary judges, in fact killing its essential character. Evidence of this can be seen in what has been decided in the matter of conflicts of jurisdiction, decisions of guardianships and disciplinary regime of the magistrates who are members of the Special Jurisdiction.

Regarding the National Constitution, the Havana Agreement accepted the constitutional right for the Presidents of the Republic, but now the Court extended that privilege to the trial of civilian State agents, that is, to ministers, congressmen, prosecutors, prosecutors, and governors, thus creating a body of untouchables by justice, among which are included the third parties responsible for serious crimes, who cannot be called to answer for their actions before the JEP.

It is thus clear that a jurisdiction that had for its object the prosecution of the most serious crimes committed by all those directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, was now reserved for the exclusive trial of FARC-EP former guerrillas, which evidences a manifest violation of what was agreed between the parties, showing furthermore the absolute disdain for the victims of the crimes attributable to those now protected by the Court.

While it is true that the ruling of the Court enables in general terms the political participation of former guerrillas, it introduces a series of conditionalities not provided for in the Final Agreement, whose failure to act in the fortuitous event, would result in the loss of special treatments, benefits, waivers, rights and guarantees, as the case may be.

It is advisable to warn that rights and guarantees, in any legal regime in the world, are born of constitutional and legal provisions, and therefore can not be eliminated except by rules of that category, in no case by judicial decisions. Extradition of FARC-EP former guerrillas was expressly prohibited by a Legislative Act declared enforceable and is therefore a right, a guarantee that can not be reversed eventually by the judges, as it was dangerously established between the lines in the Court's decision.

I would like to draw your attention, Secretary General, to the fact that through Legislative Act 02 of 2017, declared enforceable by the Constitutional Court itself, all the authorities and institutions of the State were obliged to faithfully comply with the content of the peace agreements, which amazingly is now ignored by the same Constitutional Court in its recent ruling.

Even more surprising in a negative sense, is what was voted by the Senate of the Republic on the night of November 15 on the matter of the statutory law on the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.
It should be noted that the JEP is already part of the National Constitution by virtue of the legislative act 02 of 2017, declared enforceable by the aforementioned ruling of the Court.
What corresponds to the Colombian Congress is to issue the statutory law that regulates what he himself elevated to constitutional norm, in accordance with what was agreed in the Final Peace Agreement.

But abusing ostensibly of its mission, the Colombian Senate has proceeded to pervert what was approved in Havana and in the Legislative Act. In these, a procedure was contemplated for the selection of the judges that would integrate the JEP, for whose designation the international body of very high qualities that was integrated, had to take into account that the candidates fulfilled the same requirements to be magistrates of the Colombian high courts.

Having made the choice, and lacking only the formal take over of the chosen ones, the Colombian Senate introduced a series of inabilities and incompatibilities to be a JEP magistrate, such as the exclusion of those who in the exercise of their activity as human rights defenders have acted judicially against the State, which reveals the premeditated intention to prevent the take over of the majority of those appointed, in an act that only shows the intention that only the defenders of state impunity can be magistrates.

In the same way, concealed in the limited participation in politics of the former guerrillas of the FARC, the Senate approves that the politicians of the traditional parties condemned of links with paramilitary groups of assassins, will be able to aspire freely to political exercise and therefore to present themselves as candidates for public corporations and then take possession, in an infamous consecration of disconcerting impunity.

For physical issues of time, of the previous events, which took place in barely twenty-four hours in our country, your Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs did not manage to appear, despite his interest in recording the concerns of the UN for the way in which the Final Agreement is being implemented.

When we inform you directly of the seriousness of what happened, we invoke the intervention of the United Nations and its Security Council, in analogy to what Mr. Feltman expressed about our political participation:

"Failure to comply with this essential commitment, after the handing over of weapons, it would have very serious repercussions for the process and would not be understood or accepted by the international community."

Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (Timoleón Jiménez)
President of the People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force

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