By Clara López Obregón, EL ESPECTADOR, August 29, 2021

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The response by Humberto de la Calle, along with Sergio Jaramillo, to Álvaro Uribe Vélez about the general amnesty, was impeccable, except for the final remark, and I will comment on that soon. The self-amnesty proposed by the former President is unacceptable under international law, even before the signing of the Statute of Rome that created the International Criminal Court. In the decision in Barrios Altos v. Perú (2001) the Inter-American Court for Human Rights had already declared the amnesty laws No. 26479 and No.26492 of June 1995 to be null and void and without effect, because they were incompatible with the American Human Rights Convention. The Court ordered Perú to investigate the slaughter of 15 people by the Armed Forces in Barrios Altos, and to punish those responsible. The Statute of Rome extended the prohibition of amnesties to non-state participants in a war or armed conflict.

But former President Uribe already knew all that, as well as that the transitional justice system agreed upon in the Peace Agreement has been praised highly by the international community for the delicate balance that was established between peace and justice, precisely to avoid that this country would be criticized by the International Criminal Court for failing to investigate and punish the serious crimes against humanity and violations of international human rights that took place during the armed conflict.

What’s going on here is that the former President is playing politics. His example tempted Humberto de la Calle in his appropriate pronouncement on amnesty. In effect, at the end of his statement, he made a polarizing and disqualifying reference to Gustavo Petro, as if he had some kind of pending account with the transitional justice system, which is totally false. Everth Bustamante, former Democratic Center Party Senator and former M19 commander, has already clarified this publicly when he said last March: “Petro was never part of the military structure of M-19.”

The bug of division that is spreading to the building blocks of democracy was able to bite Humberto de la Calle. We can’t repeat the 2018 experience when, for lack of ability to dialog and reach agreement, we allowed Uribismo to be in charge of the bad implementation of the Peace Agreement.

I invite Humberto de la Calle to uphold his unwavering commitment to the Peace Agreement, and serve as a bridge to generate the much-needed dialog between the Coalition of Hope and the Historical Compact. We are in time to follow the advice in his column in EL ESPECTADOR on July 19, 2020.  There he proposed “the need to build a coalition that in 2022 will stand for a shared program, built transparently and without equivocation, that will push away the risks of extremism in our country,” and will point to the red lines of the different candidates, mentioning Petro among them.

Now, as we failed to do with sufficient breadth and insistence in 2018, we must sit down to talk about fundamental things. Let’s put aside being offended, and agree to save the Peace Agreement and get started on making a change. All hands on deck! I’m available.

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