Here are great news for human rights in Colombia.
Fatou Bensouda, a prosecutor in the International Criminal Court, said the grave crimes that matter to the international community — those that violate International Humanitarian Law — should not be left unpunished. She was referring to Colombia’s Legal Framework for Peace, a proposed constitutional amendment, which under closer inspection is an amnesty in disguise; it exempts from criminal prosecution countless guerrillas and paramilitaries responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Legal Framework for Peace is the way the Santos administration is adjusting the law to pacify the FARC’s leadership in the current peace talks in Havana. The amendment would likely grant immunity to the FARC’s leadership.
Bensouda contends the Legal Framework for Peace does not meet the standards of International Humanitarian Law. Moreover, Bensouda emphasized, Colombia ratified the Statute of Rome, and Colombia is responsible for upholding the Statute of Rome. Hence, Colombia cannot choose to process some cases and not others.
Bensouda was the prosecutor who presided over the conviction of former African warlord Thomas Lubanga in March 2011. Lubanga was found guilty by the ICC of using children as young as nine as bodyguards, sex slaves and fighters.
The verdict and the sentencing of Thomas Lubanga sent a strong message: If the law at home does not hold someone accountable for violating the rights of children, there is the ICC, which, in due time, will not let impunities go.