Attorney General to investigate JEP over alleged cover-up 

By Arjun Harindranath September 10, 2018

Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez making a statement on transitional justice. Photo still courtesy of La Fiscalia

The Attorney General of Colombia has accused the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of concealing information that could amount to procedural fraud in cases where FARC members are currently being tried for crimes committed during the conflict. The information relates to the whereabouts of FARC members and whether they have been moved from FARC reintegration zones discreetly without the government being made aware of it.

Six members of the FARC have reportedly left the camps in violation of the peace accord and information as to their whereabouts are now being hidden, the Attorney General has alleged.

Attorney General Néstor Humberto Martinez said in a statement that the legal process against members of the FARC may be “tarnished” given the conduct of some of the staff within the JEP. “We have opened an inquiry by a special prosecutor who has to produce decisions promptly in order to ensure that [the JEP members] will not violate the strict compliance with the constitution and the law in that jurisdiction,” the Attorney General went on to say.

Meanwhile the JEP President Linares welcomed an investigation into the conduct of the Court’s staff and stressed that none of the magistrates on the court’s bench have been implicated in the accusation. In a statement, Linares stated that the JEP expresses its “total willingness for the action to be clarified in a prompt manner and made public”. Linares was informed of the Prosecutor’s Office (La Fiscalia) looking into the matter on Friday morning by the Attorney General himself.  

The jurisdiction of the JEP has been a divisive topic within Colombian politics with many believing that the ordinary justice system should be ruling on crimes committed during Colombia’s five-decade war with the FARC. The JEP was set up as a result of the historic peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC, and comes to its decisions using the guiding principles of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition.

As a candidate, President Iván Duque had been clear that former FARC members must be tried for their crimes and no amnesties should be permitted for actions committed during the conflict. Duque recently expressed that the Attorney General’s investigation should continue into the “irregularities” within the JEP.

Three members of the JEP staff–all working for the Executive Secretary– will now be called in for questioning on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The officials that will be called in for questioning are July Milena Henríquez, Luis Ernesto Caicedo Ramírez and Martha Lucia Zamora Ávila who, ironically, was formally Attorney General of Colombia as well.