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Colombia: ICC investigates extraditions

August 18, 2008

Colombia: ICC investigates extraditions

The International Criminal Court is sending Argentine attorney Luís Moreno to Colombia to investigate the extradition of paramilitary bosses from Colombia to the US.

The ICC will also investigate the connections between congresspeople and senators with paramilitary groups, a scandal known as parapolitica in Colombia.

The New York Times ran an article on August 15th titled International court may investigate Colombian rebels' backers, which portrays the ICC investigation as primarily related to the FARC and their international funding sources.

Information linking the investigations to the extraditions of paramilitaries and the parapolitica is buried in one sentence at the end of the NYT article. There is no mention of the FARC in the letter to the Colombian government from an ICC representative.

Instead, the letter from Moreno to the Colombian ambassador at The Hague warns the government that if justice can not be done by the Colombian judicial system, the International Criminal Court will intervene.

The Uribe government is likely to argue that Colombia is not subject to ICC investigations based on an agreement made in 2002 that exempts Colombia from persecution under Article 8 of the Rome Statute for seven years. Article 8 deals with War Crimes.

Colombian president Álvaro Uribe extradited 15 top paramilitary bosses in May of this year for crimes including drug trafficking, money laundering and financing terrorism.

These crimes are lesser than the crimes against humanity that the paramilitary leaders would be judged for were their cases to be investigated by the ICC.

UPDATE: For a more detailed analysis, see The Para-Uribe Regime, the Extraditions, and Justice in Colombia.

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