The documentary traces the demobilization and disarmament of the AUC, las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia or the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the paramilitaries.
The documentary examines the Justice and Peace Law, passed in 2005, with the intention to provide truth, reparations, and a measure of justice to victims of the AUC and the continuing armed conflict.
For much of the 1990s, the AUC, another drug-financed illegally armed group, were responsible for massacres and disappearances of anyone suspected of collaborating with the FARC, and forced recruitment of minors. Under the Justice and Peace Law, the paramilitaries were supposed to demobilize and confess their crimes, and allow families to uncover the truth of what happened to their loved ones.
Family members came to the hearings, asking for any information, showing photos, and painfully re-living the trauma of what happened. They begged for bodies to bury properly, for closure.
Yet, as the documentary highlights, the government of Alvaro Uribe extradited to the United States the leaders, or intellectual authors, before they had a chance to fully confess their crimes. They were extradited to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Commander Ever Veloza, alias Commander “HH,” told a hearing (minute 55:00) that the banana and sugar industry, and cattle ranchers benefitted from the paramilitaries. He said the paramilitaries would arrive in areas where they received logistical support (minute 55:44). He implicated local politicians and businesspeople. Then, before victims could finish hearing the entire truth, Commander “HH” was also extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges.
In the documentary, Gustavo Gallon of the Colombian Commission of Jurists, says (minute 22:00) that of 3600 people presented as having committed grave crimes against humanity, only 600 people have satisfied the requirements of the Justice and Peace Law, as set by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
** WARNING: VERY DISTURBING GRAPHIC IMAGES IN THE DOCUMENTARY. **