Crimes Against Humanity in Colombia and Mexico: Joint Initiative Bolsters Fight Against Impunity

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Paris, Bogota, Mexico City — The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR) and IDHEAS, Strategic Litigation in Human Rights, have decided to join forces to contribute to the fight against impunity of extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances in Colombia and Mexico.

This work will be carried out through documentation and mobilisation actions to raise awareness of the existence of crimes against humanity in both countries, litigation at the local level about these crimes, exchanging experiences between lawyers about the strategies and, finally, the creation of spaces for the exchange of experiences between the groups of victims in Colombia and Mexico. With the campaign #JuntasContraLaImpunidad (Together against impunity) we hope to achieve the implementation of public policies on justice that dismantle structures of impunity and put the victims at their center, including advances in the search for missing persons.

The first public stage of this initiative took place on Tuesday, following a year of monitoring the functioning of the new mechanisms of justice and attention to victims recently created in both countries. The webinar "What About Impunity? Situation of Mexico and Colombia" dealt with the main obstacles to investigating and prosecuting cases of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in Colombia and Mexico, in a discussion between civil society organisations, victims, and a representative from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On the situation in Mexico, figures on violence and structural impunity in the country were unveiled; likewise, the lack of will and capacity of the Mexican justice system to investigate and sanction crimes against humanity was exposed. To that effect, the convening organisations demanded that the Mexican State refer the situation in Mexico to the ICC and acknowledge the existence of crimes against humanity. Likewise, they pointed out that the opening of a preliminary examination in Mexico would involve an indispensable shift in the investigations so that methodologies of context analysis are incorporated, the facts are clarified, and those most responsible for crimes against humanity are prosecuted.

With regard to Colombia, throughout the webinar it was highlighted that although there are advances in terms of truth and participation of victims within the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), it is still too early to consider that impunity has been overcome. On the contrary, transitional justice continues to be fragile due to the lack of collaboration from entities of the ordinary justice system, such as the Attorney General’s Office or Military Criminal Justice, as well as regular attempts to modify its normative framework. It was recognised that ICC monitoring should continue, in particular to ensure that victims are able to know who gave the orders and that those bearing the greatest responsible are duly prosecuted.

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