Colombia

Colombia

Case Studies

Human Rights Accountability in the Colombian Military Armed Forces

Context

In 2008, as a result of public and international pressure over overwhelming evidence of systematic human rights abuse committed by the Colombian armed forces, particularly extrajudicial executions, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced the establishment of 15 internal measures aimed at improving the human rights performance of the Armed Forces. The measures were part of the government’s comprehensive policy on human rights and international humanitarian law created in 2008. They were designed to build on Directive 300-38 from 2007, which emphasizes captures over kills as a primary criterion for evaluating military success; and a human rights certification program based on polygraph assessment and verification of operational history for all candidates for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and above.

Additionally, Directive 25 (2008) of the MoD created a system for receiving complaints of violation of human rights on the national level, as well as a system for addressing them and ensuring that the complaints are recognized by the pertinent civilian judicial authorities and notified to the Inspector General so that proper administrative and disciplinary measures can be taken.

Entry points

Understanding their limited capacity to institutionalise the 15 measures the Colombian MoD sought partnerships with academic institutions, civil society and the international community in an unprecedented manner. For example, they worked with the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana to develop and implement a Single Teaching Model (MUP) on human rights and international humanitarian law, and created instructor guidelines in the process.  Moreover, the MoD sought support from the ICRC and the UN in country for training and accompaniment (referring to technical support in the form of recommendations and not meaning monitoring or evaluation) to help bring credibility to the implementation of the 15 measures.

For example, in 2009, the ICRC began assisting the armed forces carry out workshops on lessons learned from past human rights violations. Case studies provided the Divisions with models for how to respect human rights and international humanitarian law when carrying out their duties.

In 2012, a team of SSR and human rights experts (including the author) was formed by UN OHCHR at the request of the MoD to accompany the military forces in the implementation of seven of the 15 measures. These included accompanying the MoD in the revision of their human rights training, system of human rights certification system for all officers and establishment of a human rights complaint reception system at the tactical level amongst others. In the absence of an international accreditation system for human rights and IHL military formation, training and education programmes, this accompaniment by OHCHR Office in Colombia (funded by in-country donors) was a good example of an SSR monitoring mechanism being locally driven and internationally supported.

Impact

One very interesting relationship that is worth highlighting for its innovation is the MoD’s working relationship with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This has resulted in a comprehensive policy focuses on Sexual Reproductive Rights, Equality and Gender-based Violence, Sexual Health and Reproduction, with an Emphasis on HIV. The programme includes incorporating obligatory and specialised education and formation training to military and police forces, from recruit to officer level, making Colombia the first Latin American country to do so.

In regards to sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV), through this programme the Ministry generates internal awareness of its no tolerance policy as well as of the applicable internal regulations, domestic legislation and the international legal norms such as International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The training on awareness and prevention of GBV becomes progressively sophisticated up through the ranks with command responsibility a central theme, including at the lower levels of command. Moreover, with the assistance of UNFPA, an internal (but public) protocol was created to orientate on managing the prevention of GBV in armed conflict. See 

In 2011, the Ministry, in partnership with UNFPA published their training manual on the prevention of sexual violence and protection of women and international humanitarian law. The accessibility of this training document demonstrated good practice for democratic governance in a society that counts on a strong gender movement and on a very critical civil society supporting women’s and victims’ rights.

Since 2008, the Colombian Military have reported a sharp decrease in external complaints against their personnel in operations. The reduction in the number of complaints made against the armed forces is one of the Ministry’s key indicators that the comprehensive policy is having a positive impact.  The Ministry has also reported building a number of partnerships with various NGOs and representatives from minority communities such as indigenous groups to participate in their training programs. This outreach for external partnerships is a positive step towards strengthening a culture of democratic governance.

Lessons Identified

In spite of progress being documented by the MoD via their statistics on human rights complaints, it is important to highlight that in the case of the military forces, it is the same institution that monitors and processes the complaints made against them. The Colombian military has offices and accessible communication lines open to the public throughout the country established as a result of Directive 25 (2008). This includes the establishment of a human rights complaints office in each military unit and a national toll free number for human rights complaints.

However, the manner in which the military processes complaints made against them is not yet a fully transparent process. This implies that the number of complaints registered and made public by the Colombian military may not reflect reality, including in cases of allegations of GBV. This in turn may impact how the military are converting lessons identified stemming from allegations of human rights and IHL violations against them into didactical human rights and IHL training material.

As a result, the UN has been advocating that the MoD ensure their complaints system has connectivity with civilian agencies on these issues and to make public the claims reported to each division commander or regional police chief through periodic television appearances.

The openness showed by the Colombian MoD should be recognised as a positive model, especially considering that armed confrontations between armed actors continue and mistrust between the military forces and civil society has deep roots. Since then, the MoD has learned to better cooperate with different actors on accountability and use the resulting partnership to become more effective operationally.  

Selected Resources

  1. Política en derechos sexuales y reproductivos, equidad y violencia basada en género, salud sexual y reproductiva, con énfasis en VIH
  2. Prevención de la violencia sexual protección de la mujer y derecho internacional humanitario
  3. Protocolo para la fuerza pública en el manejo de la violencia sexual con énfasis en la violencia sexual con ocasión del conflicto armado
case study

Colombia - Coordination between national and indigenous judicial systems

Context

Colombia is home to over 80 indigenous communities, each with their own dialects and judicial authorities. The year of 1991 represents a landmark for them, since it was the year when a new Constitution was established, in which the diversity of cultures was acknowledged, and their protection was referred to. Various other pieces of legislation have followed that further specify the ways in which indigenous populations have had to be increasingly incorporated into the national system. Especially the 1996 Act No. 270 of the Statute of the Administration of Justice, given that it placed the justices of peace and the jurisdiction of the various indigenous communities within the Judicial Administration structure.

Nonetheless, managing the difference between the rules of the national judicial system and those of the indigenous judicial systems has been a challenge in the absence of a law on coordination (also foreseen by the 1991 Constitution). This challenge places indigenous groups in vulnerable circumstances, especially in those cases where the two jurisdictions clash. A law allowing for the coordination of over 80 indigenous groups, considering their unique differences, whilst being sufficiently operative to settle disputes, proved difficult to obtain. Adding to the complexity is the widespread armed conflict that has been part of the country’s history for the past five decades. National security forces often enter territory without indigenous approval, undertaking operations that sometimes bring the conflict dynamics into these communities.

Entry point

The disparities between the different systems of carrying out justice turned collaboration between the national authorities and the indigenous authorities necessary. Building on the various types of legislation in place to promote the respect and protection of the indigenous populations, in 2004 the Higher Council of the Judiciary, in partnership with the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia, and the Association of the Indigenous Council in the North of Cauca, developed the programme “Support to the Coordination between the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction and the National Judicial System”. The aim was to foster mutual knowledge of the two systems and the new legislation, and to promote coordination, in order to improve the access of indigenous communities to basic justice services. The programme was co-funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Higher Council of the Judiciary, with resources having been provided by the Special Japanese fund.

The programme had five main components:

  1. An intercultural educational training that brought together the justice officials of the national system and those of the indigenous system to learn about each other’s modus operandi, including norms and processes, as well as  to identify needs.
  2. The establishment of a system of data collection to document and report on the different decisions of each jurisdictional body, in order to better understand how the other works. Respect for the customs of each community was respected through establishing voluntary participation in the process of contributing data.
  3. Development of a jurisdiction map covering all judicial systems, the competent authorities, and the services offered.
  4. Consultation of the population at the national level, to assess their opinion about the results and successes obtained, and contributing to the identification of the future financial needs of the programme. 
  5. A national workshop with the participation of the Organization of American States (OAS) to present the results and discuss relevant issues concerning the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction.

Finally, an Advisory Committee for the Programme was created as an accountability mechanism that was in charge of overseeing the accuracy and effectiveness of implementation.

Lessons identified

The main lesson from the Colombian process is that coordination can be enabled in practice, even if legal regulations are absent. The programme “Support to the Coordination between the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction and the National Judicial System” was successful in facilitating mutual system knowledge, and in promoting interaction between actors of the formal and of the indigenous justice systems. It also succeeded - through the consultations – in sensitising other relevant stakeholders such as the security forces and the private business sector towards the need to respect both jurisdictions. The transversal intercultural component of the programme contributed to the creation of a culture of jurisdiction collaboration and coordination previously inexistent. An iconic example of this is a sentence by the Constitutional Court – related to the Vencedor Piriri-Guamito y Matanegra Indigenous Reservation – stipulating that prior consultation of the indigenous authorities is mandatory before private extraction companies enter their territory.

Selected Resources

case study

Gender Mainstreaming Case Example: ISSAT Evaluation of the UNDP Rule of Law Programme in Colombia

In 2018, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights Unit requested ISSAT’s support to conduct an evaluation of their Colombia Country Programme on Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development. The objectives of ISSAT’s evaluation were threefold:

  1. To analyse and understand the extent to which Global Program efforts improved Country Program implementation of RoL projects,
  2. To assess the extent to which RoL was integrated into the Country Program, and
  3. To build evidence for a flexible guide for developing good practice monitoring.

ISSAT’s methodological approach explicitly focused on identifying the strategic rationale and effects achieved by the UNDP. This focus on outcomes was specifically designed to identify and evaluate how the program was able to contribute to concrete changes in security and justice conditions. This included documenting the extent to which gender equality was mainstreamed into the RoL interventions supported by UNDP. The information gathered was structured according to the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria with specific emphasis placed on the core areas of Relevance, Effectiveness/Impact, Efficiency and Sustainability. The evaluation found UNDP’s will to systematically promote gender equality, the allocation of resources to improving technical and strategic capacity to be highly effective in fulfilling its institutional commitment to promote gender equality. Activities that support this finding are two Gender Equality Seal processes that the country office went through, appointment of a national expert at the strategic planning level, appointing several gender focal points to ensure a wide institutional reach and development of a gender strategic plan and a corresponding action plan.

Gender equality and empowering women was included as a crosscutting issue in the inception report and evaluation methodology that ISSAT submitted to UNDP/Colombia. To understand the extent to which gender equality has been mainstreamed, the evaluation drew inspiration from UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, the OECD’s Gender Equality Policy Marker (GEPM), and the “Women, Peace and Security” framework. In order to reconcile these frameworks for evaluation purposes, the methodology sought specific information on UNDP’s efforts towards:

  1. Gender parity: the representation of women and girls for their meaningful participation in the targeted programme or intervention. The evaluation reported increased gender parity in UNDP supported projects.
  2. Gender equality: equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. The evaluation has found that the UNDP’s added value is recognised by partners in promoting gender equality.
  3. Gender mainstreaming: the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action. The appointment of a national expert and several gender focal points point out to concrete steps in the implementation of the gender strategic plan. 

Main Takeaways

In recent years, UNDP Colombia has invested significantly in their internal capacity to assist national partners in promoting gender equality in the application of RoL. This includes UNDP Colombia undergoing two Gender Equality Seal processes. The UNDP Gender Equality Seal Programme is aimed at closing persistent gender gaps in the workplace where UNDP provides government partners with tools, guidance and specific assessment criteria to ensure successful implementation and certification. 

In addition, UNDP Colombia has appointed a national expert to advice at the strategic planning level and has appointed several gender focal points to ensure a wide institutional reach. The expert team led a revision of the gender equality portfolio and captured the gender mainstreaming of the country office in practice.

Last but not least, UNDP Colombia has developed its gender strategic plan through a consultation process with women’s civil society networks and a corresponding action plan. As a result, the information available for the evaluation enabled for a quality baseline from which to triangulate information using the methodology proposed. Normally, such information is challenging to obtain in both quality and quantity.

ISSAT had incorporated gender parity, equality and mainstreaming as a cross cutting issue in its evaluation methodology from the start. A systematic approach was used during the desk-review phase as well as in the design of the semi-structured questionnaires and group discussions conducted during the field-research phase. It was also duly taken into consideration when identifying the interviewees and participants in the group-discussions.

To have a member of the evaluation team with the pertinent knowledge, expertise and commitment to this methodological approach was a key factor for the consistency in the application of the gender methodology and analysis. It also worked as a catalyst of the knowledge and experience of the other team members.

Recommandations

  • The adoption of non-discrimination as a norm, as done by UNDP, can contribute to the inclusion of vulnerable groups including ethnic minorities, women and children in defining programme objectives and priorities, thereby leading to improved gender equality through behavioural change in both the implementing institution and target audience.
  • Using a Human Rights Based and gender sensitive lens for evaluations can increase commitment and concrete actions to facilitate the implementation of human rights and gender equality standards.
  • Outcome-level reporting which also includes the collection and presentation of gender disaggregated data can demonstrate trends and gaps in achieving gender equality and lead to a better analysis of needs which in turn could improve gender sensitive programming.
  • The inclusion of gender parity, equality and mainstreaming as a cross cutting issues should be systematised across all evaluations and added to the methodology - in order to ensure gender aspects are evaluated in a holistic manner and that their linkages to other programme objectives are systematically established.
  • Including a gender expert as a team member was of significant value. It not only ensured the inclusion of a gender dimension throughout the mandate, but also succeeded in enhancing the focus on and awareness of gender issues among both team members, the mandating organisation and national counterparts who were engaged in the mandate.

Case study published in July 2019. 

case study

Videos

An Update on the Colombian Peace Process with U.S. Special Envoy Bernard Aronson

Interview with U.S. Special Envoy Bernard Aronson, following the announcement that the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had reached major breakthroughs on the outstanding issues in the peace process negotiations (transitional justice, disarmament, and a timetable for signing a final agreement). He provides context on how agreement was reached and what comes next.

More on: An Update on the Colombian Peace Process with U.S Special Envoy Bernard Aronson 

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Revelations of Surveillance from Colombia's Top Commander

On 14 April 2017, the Colombian magazine Semana ran a damning story about a group of senior military officers who it said were involved in corruption and illicit surveillance activities. It indicated that General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, the country’s then-top commander and now ambassador to South Korea, did not like Human Rights Watch's insistence on justice for killings of innocent people by the army during its long battle against rebel groups. So in 2017, Semana said, the general apparently asked other officers to establish cyber surveillance and monitoring on José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch's Americas Director, and discussed ways to censor his tweets.

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The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. Backed by international actors, ICG argue that the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a sceptical incoming president abandoning the peace process.

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Colombie : au Catatumbo, "les damnés de la coca"

Ces derniers mois, la guerre entre l’EPL et l’ELN dans le Catatumbo a déplacé plusieurs milliers de personnes, 9 000 selon l’ONU. Les paysans quittent leurs fermes éparses dans les montagnes pour se rassembler dans des refuges provisoires, puis ils rentrent chez eux une fois les combats passés. Ces affrontements se déplacent dans la région selon une logique indiscernable. Il arrive que les civils se retrouvent pris entre deux feux. Les familles se rassemblent et attendent que cela passe, impuissants. Certains ne peuvent plus aller cultiver leurs champs, minés par les guérilleros. Des écoles ont fermé. Les habitants du Catatumbo sont prisonniers, et fatigués de ce conflit qu’ils ne comprennent pas.

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Podcasts

How a Ceasefire in Colombia can work

This podcast by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) looks at the obstacles in the way to a smooth post-conflict transition: other violent groups, demobilization challenges, lack of consultation with communities, international apathy, and the Colombian government’s historic inability to be present, protecting its citizens, in much of the national territory.

Colombia’s government and FARC guerrillas missed the March 23 deadline that they had set for themselves to finish a peace accord. Still, after 3 1/2 years of talks, an agreement on a full cessation of hostilities—a bilateral ceasefire—is likely in the near future. What would happen the day after that remains an open question.

For the full access to the Podcast on How a Ceasefire in Colombia can work, kindly follow the link.

Podcast

ICTJ Forum October 2012: Analysis of World Events From a Transitional Justice Perspective

The latest episode of ICTJ Forum, a monthly podcast looking into recent news and events from around the world, features ICTJ President David Tolbert, Truth and Memory Program Director Eduardo Gonzalez, and Africa Program Director Suliman Baldo. They join host and Communications Director Refik Hodzic for an in-depth analysis of recent developments in Kenya, the former Yugoslavia, and Colombia.

Podcast

ICTJ Forum September 2012: Analysis of World Events From a Transitional Justice Perspective

In the first ICTJ Forum, transitional justice experts discuss the upcoming peace negotiations between the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels, the UN Security Council debate on accountability for crimes against children, the proposed ordinance on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal, and the first report to the UN Human Rights Council by the recently appointed Special Rapporteur on transitional justice.

Podcast

Policy and Research Papers

Local Justice and Security Programming in Selected Neighborhoods in Colombia

This report initiates the second phase of a large, three-step, Clingendale Institute research project into the role of local justice and security providers and non-state actors in the delivery of justice and security as public goods and services. Specifically, the report examines how, in Colombia, local justice and safety networks deliver services to citizens when a significant percentage of the population in a given community do not have confidence in the country’s centralized state agencies (national police service; judiciary and the courts) and/or where the services provided by those centralized agencies are scarce and have limited effectiveness for those living in that community. The report outlines a series of practical entry points and programmatic alternatives that donors can consider, from which a concrete and operational justice and security program (s) could be designed. Furthermore, it is suggested that in the short- to intermediate- term, donors may have few options but to support initiatives that work with these local neighbourhood providers.

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The Security Sector Dimension of Colombia's Peace Talks

Peace talks between Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group FARC began in November 2012 with the aim of ending a conflict that has left some 220,000 dead. Thus far, agreements have been reached on land reform, guerilla’s political participation, and the illegal drugs trade. Until now, the conflict had seen significant de-escalation since the FARC’s unilateral cease-fire declaration in December 2014 and the unprecedented joint humanitarian demining agreement of March 2015. Developments since the Cauca attack last April suggest Colombia’s peace process is facing a potentially devastating setback: the army’s offensive on 21 May killed 26 rebels, prompting the FARC’s decision to suspend its ceasefire on 23 May and President Santos’s call for accelerated talks point to a peace process on the brink of collapse.

This backgrounder explores the larger military dimension of the peace process and how it remains a major sticking point towards reaching a final and sustainable peace agreement. The first section examines the challenges of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of such decentralised guerilla organization. The second section explores the military fundamental distrust of the peace process and possible explanations for their ongoing resistance to a final agreement.

Read the article here.

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Violent Non-State Actors and Complementary Governance: What ISIS, Hizballah and FARC have in Common

In the absence of a strong state, insurgents, traffickers or tribal warlords may provide political and socioeconomic goods through arrangements we characterize as "complementary governance". When formulating an effective response to this security challenge, policymakers and researchers must account for the complex connections and interactions between multiple non-state governing entities.

You can read the full article here.

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Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia

Abstract: The possibility of ending the armed conflict in Colombia will depend, to a large extent, on the state’s ability to prevent multiple criminal economies, and inhibit the actors who participate in them from damaging the implementation of the final peace agreements. This article analyzes criminal economies’ ability to destabilize and thereby damage the post-conflict phase, and identifies dilemmas the state must confront in responding to this situation. The article’s objective is to provide an analytical model to understand the complex relationship between actors involved in the peace process and criminal economies, and to thereby identify risks and possible models for intervention. The theoretical referent of this work is the discussion about peacebuilding in fragile states and literature that identifies organized crime as a spoiler. This is the first attempt to apply this perspective to Colombia, and to take the particular characteristics of the country into account while making comparisons with other countries that exhibit similar features in their own post-conflict and transitional phases. The article comes to the conclusion that in Colombia it is necessary to consider Interim Stabilization Measures, which allow the state to provide an effective response that takes advantage of available resources without losing sight of the need to strengthen local institutions in the mid-term.

This article can be found here: Garzón-Vergara, J.C., (2015). "Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia." Stability: International Journal of Security and Development . 4(1), p.Art. 36. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.fx

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ICTJ Report: Complex Law and Violence Hamper Reparations for Victims in Colombia

The report, titled, “From Principles to Practice: Challenges of Implementing Reparations for Massive Violations in Colombia,” examines the challenges of implementing Colombia's Victims and Land Restitution Law (2011), which created a large-scale reparations program for victims of serious human rights violations and a separate land restitution program for those displaced from land they relied on for their livelihoods.

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Squaring Colombia’s Circle: The Objectives of Punishment and the Pursuit of Peace

This paper weighs the possible modes and competing policy objectives of punishing FARC members for serious crimes in the context of Colombia’s ongoing peace negotiations. It argues that punishment has to occur in a way that does not damage one of the underlying objectives of the peace process, transforming the FARC from an insurgent group into a political actor. According to the paper, to meet policy objectives: 1) trials must be public, accessible, transparent, and serious; 2) punishment should include the possibility of offenders meeting with victims so that they can express their suffering; and 3) measures of punishment should include disagreeable consequences, such as financial penalties, asset seizure, temporary exclusion from political office, and community service orders, as well as reformative measures.

Full paper: Squaring Colombia’s Circle: The Objectives of Punishment and the Pursuit of Peace

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DDR and the Internal Organisation of Non-State Armed Groups

Brian McQuinn argues in this paper published by Stability - the International Journal of Security and Development that demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) trajectories of non-state armed groups are shaped by a group’s internal organisation. Extensive research by political scientists has demonstrated a correlation between internal features of armed groups and their behaviour (e.g. extent of violence used against local communities). He extends this analysis to DDR outcomes by illustrating how two features of an armed group’s internal organisation – command profile and financing architecture – influence post-conflict DDR trajectories. To substantiate the theory, three case studies from Colombia, Nepal and Libya are reviewed. The article concludes with the limitations and opportunities of this approach, including the potential of predicting DDR challenges.

For full access to the article on DDR and the Internal Organisation of Non-State Armed Groups, kindly follow the link. 

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A Transparent and Accountable Judiciary to Deliver Justice for All

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Corruption is hampering the delivery of justice globally. People perceive the judiciary as the second most corrupt public service, after the police. UNDP presents in this report, prepared in cooperation with U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, a series of successful experiences from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo*, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, and Somalia, in promoting transparency and accountability within the judiciary.

Opening up judicial systems fosters integrity and increases public trust without impeding independence of the judiciary. The report advocates for judiciaries to open up to peer learning by engaging representatives of other countries in capacity assessments to improve judicial integrity. It also encourages judiciaries to consult end-users, associations of judges and use new technologies to foster transparency and accountability.

For full access to the report on A Transparent and Accountable Judiciary to Deliver Justice for All, kindly follow the link.

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Innovations in the Colombian peace process

NOREF Colombia peace

This Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF) report by Kristian Herbolzheimer explores the crucial aspects of the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). After presenting the background to the conflict and peace process as well as the factors triggering the current peace negotiations, the author studies the structure of the negotiations and the innovations that they include. Five such innovations are underlined: the establishment of a solid framework that distinguishes between conflict termination and transformation, the central position of the victims in the talks, the inclusion of the issues of rural development and drugs trafficking in the talks, the establishment of a gender subcommission to oversee the agreements, and the preparation for the implementation of the agreement at different levels before the final agreement. The report then exposes other fundamental developments in the Colombian peace process. The transformation of the parties to the conflict takes root in their common readiness to shift paradigms, and consultation with civil society organisations, official and unofficial, supported the monitoring of the ceasefires notably. Finally, external support was important for the negotiations, but these were driven by the parties themselves and locally owned throughout. The author then delineates four tests that the parties will have to meet in the near future, before giving some final thoughts.

To access the NOREF report Innovations in the Colombian peace process, kindly follow the link. Based on the report, Conciliation Resources proposes an infographic on the Colombian peace process that you can access by following the link.

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Poverty, Crime and Conflict: Socio-Economic Inequalities and the Prospects for Peace in Colombia

CSG_Poverty_Crime_conflict_Colombia

This blog article from Centre for Security Governance  features forthcoming research to be published in the journal State Crime and its forthcoming special edition which will address the theme “Post-Conflict Reconstruction, the Crimes of the Powerful and Transitional Justice” (to be published in April 2017).  

Poverty and socio-economic inequalities are inextricably linked with crime and conflict in Colombia. Unless they are addressed the current peace process will be unsuccessful and crime and insecurity will continue to afflict Colombia and its people, particularly the more vulnerable and marginalized. 

Read the full article on Poverty, Crime and Conflict: Socio-Economic Inequalities and the Prospects for Peace in Colombia

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Improving Security and Justice Through Local/Non-State Actors

Local/non‐state actors often play an important role in the provision of justice and security services in many of the world’s fragile and (post‐)conflict countries. With a view to improving their effectiveness, donors seeking to support justice and security development in thosecountries frequently look for ways to incorporate them in their programmes. However, given that non‐state actors can also be detrimental to local security and justice (for example when they form part of organized crime), supporting them also involves huge risks. With this dilemma in mind, the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit investigated conceptual, policy and practical opportunities and challenges for including local/non‐state security and justice networks in security and justice programming. The project consisted of a conceptual desk‐study; case studies in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi; and a synthesis phase focusing on the lessons learned from the project, complemented by an expert brainstorm meeting, on the practical issues that donors must deal with if they are to successfully include local/non‐state actors in security and justice programmes.The present report summarizes the findings from this synthesis effort. It concludes that in each of the cases examined, it was possible to identify local/non‐state actors suitable for support and ways to support them. They included actors such as local courts, lay judges, neighbourhood watch groups, community development councils, and trade associations. However, the research also identified a number of practical risks and challenges that donors need to manage and overcome in order to ensure that such actors are included effectively into broader, overall security and justice programmes.

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Regards croisés en situation post-conflit : les cas du Guatemala et de la Colombie

Ce Bulletin FrancoPaix de l'UQAM compare les cas du Guatemala et de la Colombie, oùle processus de réconciliation est complexe et le soutien de la communauté internationale envers les principales communautés stigmatisées par ces conflits armés internes, les populations autochtones, paysannes et afro-colombiennes, demeure nécessaire pour les années à venir.

Pour accéder à l'étude Regards croisés en situation post-conflit : les cas du Guatemala et de la Colombie, veuillez suivre le lien. 

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In the Shadow of “No”: Peace after Colombia’s Plebiscite

Revised and ratified after its shock rejection in October 2016’s referendum, Colombia’s peace agreement still lacks sustainable political support. Reversing public distrust will need swift and effective implementation of the accord – including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.

For full access to In the Shadow of “No”: Peace after Colombia’s Plebiscite, kindly follow the link.

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Indigenous Women and Colombia’s Peace Process

This report explores the historic experience of indigenous women in Colombia – a group usually absent from political decision-making processes – and how formal and customary institutions impact their inclusion in Colombia’s political settlement. It charts the emergence of different pathways for change for indigenous women, including the evolution of women’s engagement in the Colombian peace process as well as the inclusion of gender and ethnic minority issues in negotiations. The report looks at how the peace process is an opportunity for indigenous women to play a key role in peacebuilding and the reconfiguration of the political settlement in Colombia.

For full access to Indigenous Women and Colombia’s Peace Process, kindly follow the link.

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A Deep Influence: United States-Colombia Bilateral Relations and Security Sector Reform (SSR), 1994-2002

The internal conflict in Colombia has propelled the development of security sector reform (SSR) programs; however, these programs have been usually linked to the influence of relations between the United States and Colombia in military and foreign policy terms. The main objective of this essay is to understand said interplay from the mid-1990’s to the early 2000’s, which marked the biggest transformations to the Colombian defense sector in human rights, doctrine, equipment, and human capital. The analysis shows that such influence allowed for the consolidation of an offensive strategy which helped the Colombian government turn the balance of the internal conflict in its favor.

For full access to A Deep Influence: United States-Colombia Bilateral Relations and Security Sector Reform (SSR), 1994-2002, kindly follow the link.

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Gendered political settlements: Examining peace transitions in Bougainville, Nepal and Colombia

Based on analysis of three contexts (Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Colombia) this report explores how gender inclusion – meaningful participation at all levels of decision making, regardless of a person’s gender identity – is negotiated in elite-led peace processes and political settlements in conflict-affected contexts, and how international and national actors can support it effectively.

For full access to the paper, Gendered political settlements: Examining peace transitions in Bougainville, Nepal and Colombia, kindly follow the link.

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Inclusion of Gender and Sexual Minorities in Peacebuilding

Meaningful participation of women and other excluded groups in peace processes is important for sustainable peace, yet to date has been limited and lacking in diversity. Women and other excluded groups experience multiple forms of discrimination related to their diverse gender identities. These exacerbate social, legal, economic, cultural, as well as political marginalisation; and violent conflict compounds discrimination.

Two short case studies of Colombia and Nigeria, drawn from interviews and a review of background literature, focus on the experiences of organisations and activists working on inclusion of gender and sexual minorities. The findings identify trends and opportunities for further work addressing inclusion of gender and sexual minorities in peacebuilding.

For full access to the report, Inclusion of Gender and Sexual Minorities in Peacebuilding, please follow the link. 

Paper

Risky Business: The Duque Government’s Approach to Peace in Colombia

The new President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, during his election campaign promised to “modify” the peace agreement between the Government and the FARC. Precisely how they will do so remains unclear, given that aspects of the deal are enshrined in law or enjoy considerable support, particularly in rural areas hard hit by half a century of conflict. This report argues that the FARC agreement may not be perfect, but that it has ended Colombia’s decades-long battle against its largest guerrilla movement and offers the best path to peace in rural areas. If the government obstructs rollout of the deal or starves the responsible bodies of funds, it could spark renewed violence, hinder the extension of state authority and legal economic activity to long-neglected peripheries, fuel the growth of illicit armed groups and, over time, impede the sustainable reduction of drug production.

For full access to the report, The Duque Government’s Approach to Peace in Colombia, please follow the link. 

Paper

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

The National Liberation Army, or ELN, is Colombia’s last guerrilla movement standing. The Colombian Government have been intermittently engaging in peace talks with the group including ceasefire agreements however, the country's new President, Ivan Duque, has established strict conditions for the continuation of negotiations with ELN. This report argues that such conditions heighten the risk of hostilities resuming rather than progressing towards a peace agreement. 

For full access to the report, The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas, please follow the link. 

Paper

Made in Havana: How Colombia and the FARC Decided to End the War

On November 24, 2016, the government of Colombia and the biggest guerrilla group in the country, the FARC, signed a final peace agreement. This accord put an end to the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere and to long and convoluted peace talks. Over the course of the four-year process, there were ups and downs, including a moment of crisis when the public rejected the initial peace accord in October 2016. 

Despite many hurdles, this paper argues that the process can be considered a success for the simple fact that it achieved its objective; to convince the FARC to voluntarily set aside its weapons and start the transition to becoming a political party. This paper highlights the key elements that seemed to have worked and those that made progress difficult.

For full access to the report, Made in Havana: How Colombia and the FARC Decided to End the War, please follow the link. 

Paper

Colombia’s Truth Commission Prepares to Embark on the Extraterritorial Truth-Telling Process

This brief from ICTJ looks at the colossal task that The Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition will face when they begin taking statements in November 2018. The Commission will have to construct the historical truth from the stories and accounts of millions of victims, including those of the 100,000s of victims living abroad. The ICTJ highlights the challenges that the Commission will face and suggests methods for working with victims to discover the truth. 

For full access to the article, Colombia’s Truth Commission Prepares to Embark on the Extraterritorial Truth-Telling Process, please follow the link.  

Paper

Colombia: The End of A Cycle of Bloodshed?

On August 24th 2016, the Government of Colombia and the guerrilla group FARC-EP signed the Final Agreement , concluding at least 5 years of peace negotiations, which in turn might end the 52-year-old Colombian Armed Conflict. The Colombian public now has to vote on the Final Agreement  in a plebiscite in order for it to come into effect, and function as a binding peace treaty. The agreement contains a 6 point agenda that consists of various provisions for the resolution of the conflict. Its fifth point pertains to victims and the four rights they are entitled to: truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of no repetition.

This article outlines the historical and theoretical frameworks of justice that influenced this Agreement, then give a brief overview of the history of the Colombian Armed Conflict, from the emergence of the FARC-EP to the present. It continues by giving an in-depth description of one of the six points discussed in the agenda, the “Victims Agreement,” in order to show how the theoretical framework of justice impacted the Special Jurisdiction  that will determine the sentences of committers of grave crimes. Finally, it outlines arguments against the Justice provision of the Final Agreement  that both local and international organizations have given, and then counters them.

For full access to the article, Colombia: The End of A Cycle of Bloodshed?, please follow the link. 

Paper

Peacebuilding begins with open dialogue: Engaging Colombian communities to enable an inclusive approach

As part of the work carried out by Interpeace with the Police Unit for Peacebuilding – UNIPEP -, a visit was made to one of the Territorial Areas of Training and Reincorporation in Colombia, with the objective to talk with community members, and learn about the challenges they face in the implementation of the peace agreements.

Through several dialogue sessions, the State authorities were able to define priorities and specific actions to be developed by their local representatives to enforce security measures in their communities, and continue working in the implementation of the peace agreements in the rural areas of Colombia.

For full access to the article, Peacebuilding begins with open dialogue: Engaging Colombian communities to enable an inclusive approach, please follow the link. 

Paper

Colombia: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Colombia has made some improvements in terms of rule of law in the last decade. The current peace talks with the FARC (Colombia´s Revolutionary Armed Forces) are a clear symptom of increasing political stability. Additionally, a mining boom and improved security conditions have driven strong economic growth since the early 2000s. Nevertheless, neither these developments nor the new institutional reforms promoted by the government of President Santos—the new Anti-corruption Act of 2011, and the creation of a new Anti-corruption office in the Presidency—have contributed to curbing corruption. To the contrary, in Transparency International´s 2012 Corruption Perception Index, the country received the worse score in ten years, going from 57 in 2002 to 94 in 2012.

For full access to the report, Colombia: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption , please follow the link. 

Paper

Désarmement des FARC : mise en œuvre et bilan d’un processus inédit

Le 27 juin 2017 s’achevait le processus de remise des armes prévu par l’Accord de paix entre les Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (FARC) et le gouvernement du président centriste Juan Manuel Santos. Cette première étape de l’Accord devait permettre d’améliorer le climat de sécurité et d’amorcer le processus de réintégration des ex-combattants des FARC à la vie civile. La démarche, complexe et inédite après des décennies de conflit, a mené au retrait et à l’élimination définitive de plus de deux millions d’armes et de munitions utilisées par les membres des FARC.

Malgré des progrès vérifiables, les civils et les leaders des mouvements sociaux continuent à payer un lourd tribut de la violence en Colombie. Les 300 victimes mortelles depuis la signature de l’Accord sont preuve que la paix réelle et tangible promise est encore loin d’être totalement acquise.

Pour accéder à l'analyse, Désarmement des FARC : mise en œuvre et bilan d’un processus inédit, veuillez suivre le lien.

Paper

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. 

To read the full report Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

Books

Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War

This book provides a critical analysis of the changing discourse and practice of post-conflict security-promoting interventions since the Cold War, such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), and security-sector reform (SSR)

Although the international aid and security sectors exhibit an expanding appetite for peace-support operations in the 21st Century, the effectiveness of such interventions are largely untested. This book aims to fill this evidentiary gap and issues a challenge to 'conventional' approaches to security promotion as currently conceived by military and peace-keeping forces, drawing on cutting-edge statistical and qualitative findings from war-torn areas including Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Sudan, Uganda, Colombia and Haiti. By focusing on specific cases where the United Nations and others have sought to contain the (presumed) sources of post-conflict violence and insecurity, it lays out a new research agenda for measuring success or failure

Book

Other Documents

Following Colombia’s Agreement on Criminal Accountability, ICTJ Pledges Continued Support for the Hard Work Ahead

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) welcomes the recent agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to create a special criminal jurisdiction as part of an integrated system of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. The agreement represents a crucial step in the process to end the 50-year-long armed conflict in Colombia, which has claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced millions.

The special judicial system described in the agreement, the details of which are not yet public, aims to address judicial accountability for serious crimes committed during the conflict, with a special emphasis on acknowledgement of wrongdoing and uncovering the truth.

Full article available here

Other Document