The International Criminal Court (ICC) must intervene in Colombia, says the international children’s court.
(Translated by Diana Mendez, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a CSN Volunteer Editor.)
In Colombia impunity reigns over the crimes against humanity committed against children, youths and women.
The International Court of Children Affected by Poverty and War – the International Court Against Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide, through its international President the Argentine Sergio Tapia and International Prosecuting Attorney of Human Rights, of the International of Conscience, due to the visit of the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the South Korean Sang-Huyn Song to Colombia, raises a public call for the intervention and investigation the crimes against humanity which go unpunished in Colombia, committed by illegal armed groups, the armed forces and the Colombian state, that range from forced disappearances, the recruiting of children, to rape, mutilation and murder of youths and women, all in the silence of the thousands of communal graves littered all over Colombia.
The intervention of the ICC is essential to doing away with impunity and carrying on a real investigation to launch processes against high-level functionaries who are supposed authors and accomplices of crimes against humanity and war crimes against the civilian population. The ICC’s intervention would support the actions of prosecutors and Colombian judges who fight against the complicit silence surrounding these crimes.
Colombia is the worst in the hemisphere in terms of crimes against humanity and human rights’ violations, and recruitment of children in war, because of this we call Colombia the Congo of Latin America: a daily course of deaths, disappearances and crimes against humanity, says the International Prosecutor of the ICC, Sergio Tapia.
A mechanism of total and complete impunity has been established in Colombia concerning these abhorrent crimes against humanity, its best exponent is Justicia y Paz, a framework for the negotiations between the government of former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) with the paramilitaries of the AUC which demobilized some 30,000 armed actors, according to official data, which imposes a maximum sentence of 8 years to those who confess and admit to their crimes, half of which have picked up arms again and started new paramilitary groups.
This was in addition to the extradition agreement negotiated by the paramilitary chiefs so that the north American justice system judges them for drug trafficking and not the crimes against humanity committed in Colombia, obviously, to silence the truth of the massacres and the supposed participation of political functionaries and high ranking businessmen, in the para-politics scandal, affirms the president of the ICC, Sergio Tapia.
In the most recently released information in January 2011 the Colombian prosecutor general’s office revealed that it has documented 173,183 homicides, 597,000 massacres, 34,467 disappearances committed by paramilitaries, crimes committed between 2005 and 2010. And the picture assumes even more Dantesque forms, a number of paramilitaries have testified about the strategic nature of the paramilitary structure for the Colombian state and provided the names of dozens of generals, businesspeople, multinationals, political functionaries all who foment paramiltarism.
In just the first three months of 2011, nine human rights workers have been killed, 68 have been threatened and four have been disappeared. Almost a hundred human rights workers were attacked between January and March 2011.
We ask finally that the ICC opens a chapter on Colombia, officially, in order to intervene, investigate and judge those responsible for the crimes against humanity committed against the Colombian people, of the crimes of the state, even if those responsible are high-level government functionaries, politicians, members of the military or members of illegal armed groups.
And we ask the organizations of civil society in Colombia, and human rights organizations, to send the thousands of cases of massacres, crimes against humanity, to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the ICC in the Hague asking for the opening of a chapter on Colombia in an official capacity. “If we can’t fight these crimes against humanity, we need to at least denounce them, so that they are no longer committed with impunity,” declared the International Prosecutor of Human Rights, Sergio Tapia.
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