Contagioradio, March 26, 2022

(Translation by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

On Friday, March 25, contrary to what was expected, the Branch for Determination of Legal Status, of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, rejected the application for admission by Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, the former paramilitary chieftain known by the alias of “Otoniel”.

According to the JEP, the evidence furnished by “Otoniel” was insufficient to accredit him as a collaborating civilian third party, and, therefore, the JEP lacks jurisdiction over the activities for which he is being prosecuted by the ordinary justice system.

“He was not in the condition of being a collaborating civilian third party or a financer, because he went from being the commander of a paramilitary group, to creating and being the leader of a Bacrim (criminal gang), with the two being substantially similar. He claimed to hold a position of command in an organization, which he would not have reached without maintaining active participation in its goals and operations,” concluded the JEP.

The Determination Branch announced its decision to the JEP Review Section, the Section on Absence of Admission, and the Branch for Admission. It also called on the Supreme Court of Justice to consider a “surrender with conditions” (in case of an extradition) that would allow the JEP, along with the Truth Commission, and the Unit for the Search for Disappeared Persons, to summon the ex-paramilitary in order to investigate the victimizing activities in which he had taken part.

The petition also asks that, after he has served his term in the United States, the former AGC commander be returned to Colombia to take responsibility for his actions that had affected the country, and not to make it necessary for the Colombian government to request his extradition.

For now, it will be up to the ordinary justice system to punish “Otoniel” for his actions; this, in spite of the petitions by the victimized communities that had urged guarantees that they be able to obtain the truth from the former paramilitary chieftain.

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