December 1, 2016

Nobember, 29 2016 (Panampost)

Senator Thania Vega, of the Centro Democrático party and who is the wife of Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega, spoke in an interview with the Colombian daily El Tiempo about the military’s concerns about the new government-FARC agreement that Congress will seek to approve this week.

The senator affirms that the new text which was agreed upon after the renegotiation between the government and the FARC in essence remains the same, and has even generated more concerns since it allows for the possibility of opening new investigations into the military. Under the current text officers could be held legally responsible for the actions of their subordinates and the military has also made allegations of unfairness and impartiality in the process for selecting judges for the trials in question, suggesting that military officers would be at a disadvantage in legal proceedings.

In addition, she said that legal insecurity could be generated and that military personnel who have already been acquitted may be tried again through different courts under the auspices of transitional justice. The military is concerned that this would violate the fundamental principle of double jeopardy, and be fundamentally unfair to those who have already been acquitted of wrongdoing.

She is also concerned regarding issues related to the reconstruction of historical memory, fearing that the ideology of experts in this area of study could cause inherent biases in the information generated. Senator Vega argues that some are fundamentally seeking to convict military officers without sufficient evidence in matters of genocide, when she argues that they were only carrying out actions under the rules of international humanitarian law.

The senator pointed out that transitional justice would be replacing Colombian institutions. This means that existing safeguards to protect human rights such as Colombia‘s “tutela” which allows for legal redress of grievances, would not be recognized and under that new jurisdiction, and that the military might be forced to confess to things they did not do to avoid being tried with the full force of the law even though they were innocent.