ASF, LWBC, CAJAR and FIDH take note of the report on preliminary examinations issued by the office of the prosecutor of the icc

Sábado 24 de diciembre de 2011, por Prensa - Colectivo

Avocats sans frontières (“ASF”), Lawyers Without Boarders Canada (“LWBC”), Corporación
Colectivo de Abogados José Alvaro Restrepar (“CAJAR”) and the International Federation
for Human Rights (“FIDH”) take note of the Report on Preliminary Examination activities (the
“Report”) issued by the Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP”) of the International Criminal Court
(“ICC”) on 13 December 2011. They are particularly interested in the section concerning
Colombia, as it falls within the ambit of their activities aimed at promoting and reinforcing the
ICC system in that country.

The above mentioned organizations recall that the situation in Colombia has been under
preliminary examination since 2006, and that several civil society organizations, both
Colombian and international, have been actively requesting the opening of an investigation
in light of what they perceive as the failure of the State to comply with its obligation to
investigate, prosecute and sanction those responsible for the most serious crimes
perpetrated in Colombia falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

The Report mentions that 69 communications in relation to the situation in Colombia are
being analysed by the OTP in the context of the preliminary examination. Those
communications lay out allegations of crimes as severe as killings, enforced disappearance,
rape and sexual violence, forcible transfer, severe deprivation of liberty, torture and use of
children in hostilities.

The above mentioned organizations take note of the OTP assessment according to which
there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity were committed by
various parties to the conflict and that preliminary research suggests that various groups
may be responsible for committing war crimes in Colombia.
Without engaging in a discussion as to whether the existing legal proceedings against those
who are the most responsible for these crimes in Colombia focus on or include persons
bearing the greatest responsibility and are conducted genuinely, the Report very briefly
addresses the issue of complementarity, which is at the center of the debate in Colombia.

Under the Statute of the ICC, complementarity involves an examination of the existence of
relevant national proceedings in relation to the potential cases being considered for
investigations by the OTP, focusing on those who appear to bear the greatest responsibility
for the most serious crimes. Where relevant domestic investigations or prosecutions exist,
complementarity further involves an assessment of the genuineness of such proceedings. In
doing so, the Report generally concludes that there is no basis at this stage to conclude that
the existing proceedings are not genuine.

ASF, LWBC, CAJAR and FIDH respectfully disagree with this assessment and will present
their detailed analysis concerning the application of complementarity in a report to be
published in 2012. This report will stress the necessity to re-focus the discussion about
complementarity in Colombia beyond the scope of the so-called Justice and Peace
proceedings, in order to address the shortcomings of both the “ordinary” criminal justice
system and the military justice reform, which has been approved earlier this month by the
Colombian Congress.

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