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Cablegate: Decree On Administrative Reparations for Victims

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0955/01 0712044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 112044Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1878
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8086
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0076
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 9300
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5995
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6649
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4331
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000955

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: DECREE ON ADMINISTRATIVE REPARATIONS FOR VICTIMS
MOVES FORWARD

REF: BOGOTA 7761

1. Summary: The National Commission of Reparations and
Reconciliation (CNRR), Ministry of Interior and Justice
(MOIJ), other government agencies, and civil society are
consulting on a draft decree to set up an administrative
reparations scheme. This would avoid the lengthy delays
under the current judicial process and provide immediate
benefits to more than 120,000 paramilitary victims. Key
provisions include restitution (property and land), indemnity
(lump sum cash payments), rehabilitation (physical and
psychological), and recognition (symbolic acts). Accion
Social would administer the program, with payments
proportional to the degree and type of injury incurred. The
decree is the first step in creating a national reparations
plan. The GOC expects to complete consultations by late
March. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -
Comprehensive Reparations Decree in the Works
--------------------------------------------- -

2. Since the GOC's October 2007 announcement that it was
considering CNRR's recommendation to implement an
administrative process for reparations, behind-the-scenes
consultations have taken place among the CNRR, MOIJ and civil
society. MOIJ Vice Minister Guillermo Reyes told us a decree
setting up an administrative scheme to make reparations to
victims should be finalized by late March with implementation
starting in December. Funding reparations for over 120,000
registered victims remains a challenge, but Reyes said the
GOC is committed to the process. The GOC will consult with
victims groups and the international community before issuing
the final decree.

3. The draft decree creates a four member Committee--the
Interior and Justice Minister, Accion Social Director, CNRR
President, and another CNRR member representing
victims--which will evaluate eligibility and oversee
reparations. Accion Social will administer the program.
Victims can opt for administrative reparations instead of the
judicial route -- but are not precluded from pursuing both as
long as they do not receive "double reparations" for the same
abuse. The draft decree makes payments proportional to the
degree of injury or damage incurred -- for example, $10,000
for homicide and $7500 for physical injury. It also sets a
deadline of five years for the Committee to review
eligibility and provide payments to all victims, but does not
address funding issues.

4. Collective reparations are not outlined in detail in the
draft decree, but "symbolic measures" discussed in the
document will include commemorative and public events to
recognize and honor victims, assistance in identifying
remains, preferential access to existing social services and
housing programs, and public education campaigns promoting
international human rights. Some victims have called for a
national monument and library to educate the next generation
about the armed conflict.

--------------------------------------
Positive Step...but Details to Resolve
--------------------------------------

5. Luis Manuel Lasso Lozano, a judge who has been tracking
the reparations issue, told us the decree was a positive step
by the GOC to "repair relations" with victims groups who have
criticized the slow reparations process and are resentful of
the benefits paid to demobilized paramilitaries under the
GOC's reintegration program. Still, the decree fails to
recognize those responsible for the crimes and neglects to
note any government responsibility. He said it would be
unconstitutional to force victims to choose between a
judicial or administrative process. CNRR consultant Alex
Segovia noted that it was important to ensure reparations
provisions were clearly differentiated from existing
government welfare programs.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Consulting with Victims and International Community
--------------------------------------------- ------


6. The CNRR held regional consultations in eleven cities in
February and March to solicit civil society input on the
draft decree. G-24 member representatives will also meet in
March to offer comments. The GOC has already engaged diverse
groups including the International Organization for
Migration--as well as Colombian human rights groups Redepaz
and Arco Iris corporation--to seek input. Septel will report
on victims' comments on the draft.

Brownfield

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