EL ESPECTADOR, March 1, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has ordered the National Security Guarantees Commission (CNGS in Spanish) to create and adopt a plan of action to combat and dismantle the illegal armed organizations that are endangering the safety of signers of the Peace Agreement.

The Failure to Acknowledge Truth and Responsibility Branch of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) investigated, and found that no strategy exists for preventing the violence caused by the illegal armed groups, and which is threatening the reincorporation of the signers of the Peace Agreement. For that reason, it has ordered the High Commissioner for Peace to activate the jurisdictions of the National Security Guarantees Commission (CNGS) to create a plan of action to combat and dismantle those armed organizations.

The JEP’s order was adopted during a hearing on monitoring the functioning of the CNGS, the purpose of which is to protect the mandatory signers appearing before it. The JEP also asked that the Inspector General’s Office initiate disciplinary investigations, considering that “five years have passed since the creation of the CNGS, and it still has no internal regulations or work plan.” Without that, “it has not been able to adopt a policy directed toward combating the armed groups that are organized outside the law, and who are affecting the reincorporation process.”

According to the JEP’s explanation, the CNGS is made up of 15 members who are to seek, as agreed in the peace process, the construction of a public policy to dismantle the criminal organizations. The members of the Commission include the President of the Republic, the Ministers of Interior, Defense, and Justice, the Attorney General, the Commander of the Armed Forces, the Director of the National Police, three experts, and two delegates from human rights agencies.

At the hearing, the Justices in the Branch held that, up to now, “there is no clarity as to how decisions are made in the CNGS”. With that situation, the JEP held that “they need to specify the goals and the challenges that have to be overcome in order to achieve their purpose of building a policy that is specific, sustained, and includes participation.”

Other agencies shown to have failed and that were identified in the monitoring hearing were the Inspector General’s Office, The Special Investigation Unit, the commanders of the Armed Forces, and the Directors of the Police. The Justices found that they “had not participated in the preparation of the different guidelines that the High Commissioner had presented on March 19, 2021.”

The figures that the jurisdiction furnished show that 306 signers of the Peace Agreement have been murdered, ten of whom were women, including an indigenous woman from Cauca. “The battle against the criminal organizations responsible for the murders and massacres has not succeeded in having an effect on prevention and mitigation of the violence,” concluded Justice Alejandro Ramelli, President of the Branch.

In April of 2021, this newspaper warned that President Iván Duque had been requested to call a meeting of the CNGS, so as to be able to create a public policy for the administration to be attentive and to pressure the Commission to carry out its assignment. The document states the following:

The death threats, the stigmatization, the murder of leaders and human rights defenders, and the wave of armed violence have all increased, as well as the displacement and confinement of ethnic communities in several regions of the country. In the same manner, there are increasing attacks on the civilian population in areas of the coca-growing economy, along with the influence of drug trafficking, illegal mining, and megaprojects that fight over territory in ethnic and campesinos communities.”

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