|Extradited paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso.|
The story makes a strong point: these guys, who may have smuggled tons of cocaine - not to mention ordering massacres, rapes, kidnappings and forced displacements - have gotten shorter sentences than some streetcorner pushers. (Here's ex-Pres. Uribe's response to the story.)
The story, however, is a bit narrow. While the paras' sentences are scandalously short, in the U.S. they did more time on drug charges than they would have back in Colombia for crimes, including crimes against humanity, under the infamous Justice and Peace Law. And, in theory, the death squad leaders are supposed to be returned to Colombia to be prosecuted for their non-drug crimes, altho the Times reports that many have obtained residency in the U.S., apparently as payback for revealing their cocaine smuggling secrets.
As a result, crimes such as massacres, kidnapping, rape and forced displacement, may never be punished at all.
|A paragraph from the New York Times story listing some of Mancuso's alleged crimes.|
|Impunity? Aftermath of the massacre of Bojayá, in which a |
FARC missile landed on the town's church, klling more than
a hundred women and children hiding inside.
And FARC members guilty of crimes against humanity, as long as they have confessed, will even be eligible to serve in Congress in one of the FARC's ten guaranteed seats.
None of which is to say that the FARC-government peace deal is not a good thing. However, political leaders should be careful that the FARC deal does not follow the paramilitaries down a path of injustice.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours