Colombia’s Naive Attempts to Legalize State Terrorism

Attempts by Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government to legalize terrorism could land it in trouble with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Duque won’t have to worry about the Colombian justice system because his presidential immunity allows him to commit mass murders on national television while remaining free.

The ICC, however, does not care about Colombia’s constitution and exists precisely to hold accountable delusional government officials who engage in terrorism.

Definition: Law 599 of 2000 defines terrorism as the act of provoking or maintaining the population or part thereof in a state of anxiety or terror by acts that endanger life, physical integrity or the liberty of persons, or buildings, of the media, of transport, of the treatment or transport of fluids and of road infrastructure, by means likely to cause havoc.

Department of Defense

The conviction of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic showed that a government official does not even need to actively participate in, for example, a massacre to be sentenced to prison in The Hague. Being an accomplice is enough.

Duque and Uribe only have to be part of “a small group of senior political and/or military leaders [who] agree to carry out a single criminal plot using the various organizations they lead” and commit crimes against humanity, according to professor of international criminal law Hector Olasolo of Rosario University.

The systematic criminalization of Colombian youth | 2000 – 2018

That would be the case if, for example, Duque authorized the late Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo to authorize the use of lethal force to quell protests during the Bogota massacre in which 13 people were murdered by police in September. from last year.

Trujillo, may he rest in peace, said police killing unarmed civilians was “the legitimate use of state force”, which was either absurd or ignorant.

The Council of State recalled in 2014 that “the intentional use of lethal weapons by the police is authorized only when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect a life”, according to international humanitarian law.

The president could also have engaged in a criminal conspiracy if he had been informed of the presence of victims of forced recruitment when Duque ordered the bombing of a dissident FARC guerrilla camp in August 2019 because he was furious of the rearmament of the former political leader of the FARC, “Ivan Marquez”.

The rules of international humanitarian law “permit the use of lethal force against combatants and military objectives”, not against victims of forced recruitment of minors who have not been involved in any military attack.

“To be lawful, an attack can only be carried out if it respects the principles of precautions in attack, distinction and proportionality”, according to the European Journal of International Law.

Duque presented bombed minors and children as “narco-terrorist criminals”

The Colombian president’s efforts to obstruct his country’s war crimes tribunal may also be part of a criminal plot to prevent justice from executing thousands of civilians under Uribe’s watch.

In fact, attempts by Duque and his far-right Democratic Center party to obstruct justice for farmers whose lands were dispossessed after being subjected to random military force also look a lot like a criminal conspiracy of interest in the ICC.

The concerted efforts of the police and the prosecution to intimidate activists and the media before the 2019 anti-government protests, the extreme violence used against journalists and the mass detentions of peaceful protesters during these demonstrations are also.

Colombia prosecuted for violent repression of anti-government protests

Duque filed criminal charges against his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro following the violent crackdown on anti-government protests in 2017, a move I applaud, though I wonder how the president got his law degree.

Following Duque’s complaint, the ICC said in December last year that “the information available at this stage provides a reasonable basis to believe that since at least April 2017, civilian authorities, members of the armed forces and pro-government individuals have committed crimes against humanity” following protests in Venezuela.

The same court however indicated on the same day that “the available information leads to the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity as described in article 7 have been committed by various actors of the situation in Colombia since 1 November”. , 2002.”

This article 7 is something because it covers murder, extermination, enslavement, forced displacement, kidnapping, torture, rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearance, apartheid and “other inhumane acts”.

The murder part alone should be cause for concern for Duque, especially after criminal charges were brought by social organizations for the escalating killings of human rights defenders and community leaders.

Article 7(1)(a): Crime against humanity of murder

  1. The conduct was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
  2. The accused knew that the conduct was part of, or intended the conduct to be part of, a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
  3. The accused killed one or more people.

The “Uribistas” seem to believe that there is a rule that considers the killing of civilians legitimate “whenever an asshole in authority feels like it, unless that asshole is leftist”.

I didn’t go to law school like the president, but I think they’re wrong.

Thelma J. Longworth