Peace Mail - January 8-14, 2019


The Attorney General’s Office delivered two reports on FARC finances and 184 investigations into attacks against social leaders between 1985 and 2016 to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) on 10 January. The first finds that the FARC was primarily financed by drug trafficking, extorsion, kidnapping, and illegal mining. The second showed that of the 139 investigations into assassinations under Law 600, only 43% have been sentenced, and of the 45 under Law 906, 77% are still in the inquiry stage, indicating high levels of impunity.

The regions with the greatest number of victims were Antioquia (134), Bogotá (75), and Arauca (53), and 78.54% of victims were men. Of the 1,602 people identified as responsible, 484 were State agents (primarily from the Army), and 452 were from illegal armed groups; 200 have been sentenced. Iván Márquez, who left his Territorial Training and Reincorporation Space (ETCR) six months ago, emerged on 12 January in a video accusing the GOC of not fulfilling their commitments to the Peace Accord. In the video, he states that the weapons laid down for peace are now being used against social leaders and former combatants, that the JEP has been “destroyed” because it does not consider intellectual authors, and suggested that the FARC should have kept their weapons as a guarantee of their economic, social, and political reincorporation. He concluded by sharing his continued commitment to the peace process.Márquez’s claims were rebuffed by President Duque, the High Commissioner for Post-Conflict, and former peace negotiator and presidential candidate, de la Calle. The two former suggested that Márquez had abandoned his responsibilities to former combatants and peace, and called on him to report to the JEP and participate in the process.

The Office of the Ombudsperson confirmed that 172 social leaders and human rights defenders were assassinated over 2018, and seven over the first nine days of 2019. The GOC has been called on to convene the National Security Guarantees Commission (CNGS), the Peace Accord entity responsible for addressing assassinations and dismantling criminal organizations. The CNGS should be convened monthly, but has not met since Iván Duque became president last August. Calls have also been made for the CNGS to coordinate with the Office of the Ombudsperson’s collective protection and rapid response decrees, and the Integrated System for Security in Exercising Politics. The GOC’s Timely Action Plan for the Protection of Leaders (PAO) is criticized for not drawing on these entities’ guidelines and experience to protect civil society. The Minister of the Interior suggested that assassinations were connected with general insecurity, drugs trafficking, and territorial conflicts between illegal armed groups, but denied that they were systematic. However, the Attorney General confirmed that criminal organizations were involved in 65% of cases, suggesting that they are systematic. The situation in El Salado, Bolívar, is of particular concern, with pamphlets threatening 13 social leaders having been disseminated since October 2018, as is that of the Bajo Cauca in Antioquia.

The ELN is suspected of involvement in attacks against the Caño Limón-Coveñas petroleum pipeline in Arauca and Norte de Santander on 5 and 8 January; this pipeline was the target of most of the 89 attacks against this infrastructure over 2018. Meanwhile, the EPL guerrilla group is suspected of holding three members of a helicopter crew brought down in Norte de Santander on 11 January. The region has suffered violent conflict since the withdrawal of the FARC, as this guerrilla group has entered confrontations with the ELN and dissident FARC Front 33 for territorial control of this region on the Venezuelan border.