Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a court created by the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has been forced to launch new lines of inquiries, following compelling testimony and evidence, it was announced.
The JEP, which was conceived to hand down lesser sentences in exchange for information to clarify the truth about what had happened during 50 years of armed conflict, has devised three new macro cases or lines of investigation to delve into crimes committed by FARC combatants, by members of the Colombian forces and by any third party involved in the conflict.
The new macro-cases will investigate sexual and gender-based violence, homicides, massacres, forced displacement, forced disappearance, occupations of populations, indiscriminate use of weapons and other non-inestimable crimes, committed by former FARC members.
The second line of investigation will consist of crimes perpetrated directly by members of the armed forces or in association with paramilitary groups or civilian third parties also related to sexual and gender-based violence, murders, massacres, forced disappearances, torture, forced displacement, and land dispossession.
And the third line will seek to clarify crimes committed against ethnic peoples and territories, where massacres, selective assassinations, and damage to the environment.
So far, JEP had seven lines of investigation, all linked to the armed conflict, including the kidnapping and murder of civilians at the hands of soldiers, known within the country as false positives.
JEP Chief Justice Eduardo Cifuentes released the figures that led the Court to open these new lines of inquiry.
In the case of crimes committed by FARC members, there are 9,763 victims of forced disappearance between 1980 and 2016, and 36,491 homicides between 1964 and 2016, in addition to 399 massacres between 1955 and 2013, plus 52,911 victims of forced displacement from 1980 to 2016, as well as 1,412 acts of sexual violence with 1,923 victims between 1990 and 2015, and 232 acts in which 2,623 people were affected by antipersonnel mines.
Regarding members of the armed forces, in some cases associated with paramilitaries and other armed actors, there were 43,209 such acts between 1985 and 2010 in addition to evidence of 10,368 criminal acts perpetrated by state agents in collusion with far-right groups between 1994 and 2016, while 206 cases of sexual violence have been filed, plus 17 massacres. A total of 1,193,301 members of ancestral peoples have been affected by the conflict between 1970 and 2016 and 1,663,930 people have been displaced from their homes from 1996 to 2016. .
Cifuentes assured that in all these cases there is ample information” that supports the accusations and thanked the victims who have provided evidence to open these new lines of investigation. He also said that in the first seven macro-cases investigated by the JEP, more than 328,000 people have been identified as victims, which showed the people's confidence in the Court.-