EL TIEMPO, March 27, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Every case is analyzed individually. The JEP can study acts connected to political crimes.

At a time when the world is living through a global emergency because of the coronavirus covid-19, news has been released of the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Nicolás Maduro by the government of the United States for drug trafficking. Maduro is accused of being part of a drug trafficking network that is connected to the FARC.

Crimes committed in Colombia that are legally connected to the FARC are basically in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) after the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016. The JEP has jurisdiction over crimes committed within the framework and, because of the conflict, and under one condition, drug trafficking is among those, as Kenneth Burbano, Director of the Constitutional Observatory at the Free University, explains:

“The JEP can investigate, charge, and try members of the FARC who subscribed to the Final Peace Agreement for acts committed before December 1, 2016, if the acts were because of, occasioned by, or directly or indirectly related to the armed conflict. That includes the crime of drug trafficking when it was for the purpose of financing the rebellion, i.e. connected with the political crime.”

The professor also explained that if the drug trafficking was committed for the defendant’s own private benefit, it is not related to the armed conflict, and if it was committed after December 1, 2016, the ordinary criminal justice system has jurisdiction to investigate and judge it.

In addition, the amnesty law (Statute 1820 of 2016) establishes that “crimes connected with the political crime, that is, actions specifically related to the development of the rebellion and committed because of the armed conflict, such as actions intended to facilitate, support, finance, or hide the development of the rebellion, may receive amnesty.”

In that regard, the JEP has explained that drug trafficking is one of the crimes over which it can have jurisdiction, but it will always evaluate that connection, or the lack of it, case by case.

Regarding the recent announcements by the United States, the JEP states that it has no position or reaction on that precise issue, and that its positions have already been stated in decisions such as its analysis in the extradition case of “Jesús Santrich,” wanted for drug trafficking, but in which the JEP did not receive all of the evidence at the trial level. Thus it decided that he could not be extradited. The same is true of its decision to expel from its jurisdiction Santrich, Iván Márquez, and others who had left the peace process.

It’s worth remembering that, with regard to cases, right now the JEP has opened seven: 01) kidnappings by the FARC; 02) the conflict situation in Tumaco, Ricaurte, and Barbacoas (Nariño Province); 03) the false positives; 04) the violent situation in Urabá; 05) the conflict situation in several municipalities in Cauca Province; 06) regarding the victimization of the Patriotic Union Party (UP); and 07) the recruitment and use of children in the war.

In addition, as of March 20 of this year, 9,737 former guerrillas of the FARC, as well as 2,680 members of the Armed Forces, 100 agents of the government who were not part of the Armed Forces (ex-mayors, ex-senators, etc.) and 12 individuals prosecuted for social protest have signed documents stating their submission to JEP jurisdiction.

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