|Victims of a 1997 paramilitary massacre.|
The Framework for Peace is intended to facilitate reaching a peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas, who are negotiating peace with the government in Havana - but at a price: light punishments for those guilty of severe human rights abuses. In a response to questions from Colombia's Constitutional Court, Human Rights Watch said that the Framework "flagrantly contravenes the legal obligations assumed by Colombia according to international law."
Even such mechanisms as a post-conflict truth commission wouldn't address this injustice, says HRW.
|Investigators dig victims of false positive |
killings from a mass grave.
Colombia may find that paying the same price of injustice for peace with the FARC is worth it.
A few years ago, Colombia was shaken by one of its most horrific human rights scandals when it wasFalse Positives.' Now, military jurisdiction legislation approved by Congress this week could let those killers off easy, say human rights advocates.
discovered that military units were kidnapping and murdering young men and disguising them as guerrillas in order to earn bonuses or time off. They were called '
|Posters portray the Fuero Penal Militar law as |
permitting the targeting of civilians.
The legislation also attempts to create rules for hostilities with the new violent groups, called Bacrims, which have sprung up after the paramilitaries demobilized. But battling these groups, which may not wear uniforms and are hard to distinguish from common criminals, also carries dangers of attacks against civilians.
Colombia may win from these two laws - but the cause of justice, and the armed conflicts' many victims - look likely to lose.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours