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Cablegate: President Uribe Signs Administrative Reparations

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1571/01 1201611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291611Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2538
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8172
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0348
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR 9403
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6166
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6817
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4415
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2539
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 001571

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KJUS PGOV PHUM PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT URIBE SIGNS ADMINISTRATIVE REPARATIONS
DECREE FOR VICTIMS

REF: A. BOGOTA 955
B. BOGOTA 956

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SUMMARY
-------

1. President Uribe signed a decree April 22 to provide
administrative reparations to victims of paramilitaries and
FARC/ELN under the Justice and Peace Law (JPL) as well as
housing benefits to 450,000 displaced families. To date,
over 120,000 victims have registered under the JPL; victims
who have not yet registered will have two years to do so from
the date of the decree's publication. The decree bypasses
the lengthy judicial process under way that requires
convictions before victims receive compensation. It also
sets the amounts to be awarded to victims for different types
of injuries. Victims can pursue additional reparations
through the judicial process, even after receiving
administrative relief. Minister of Interior and Justice
Carlos Holguin emphasized the GOC's recognition of the
"indispensable" need to provide reparations. The first
payments will be disbursed before yearend. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------
REPARATIONS: INDISPENSABLE FOR PEACE PROCESS
--------------------------------------------

2. President Uribe signed a decree on April 22 to provide
administrative reparations to victims under the Justice and
Peace Law. The decree will cover the over 120,000 individual
victims--almost all of whom are victims of the
paramilitaries--who have registered to date. Victims who
have not yet registered will have two years to do so from the
date of the decree's publication. The decree provides five
types of relief: restitution (property and land),
rehabilitation, symbolic recognition, indemnization, and
measures of no repetition. It avoids the lengthy judicial
process -- currently ongoing under the JPL process -- to
provide reparations for victims. The GOC has not costed out
the financial implications of the program, and the initial
GOC allocation for reparations is very small. The first
payments will be made before the end of the year.

3. Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo said the decree is the
product of months of consultation and discussion among
various ministries, the security forces, the judicial branch,
international organizations, and victims groups. He thanked
the Organization of International Migration (IOM) and USAID
for their contributions. The National Commission for
Reparation and Reconciliation (CNRR) consulted with over 4000
victims in eleven cities. Interior and Justice (MOIJ)
Minister Carlos Holguin said the concerted work of the
Procuraduria, Defensoria, Fiscalia, CNRR and MOIJ on the
decree showed the GOC's recognition that victims' reparations
were "indispensable" to the peace process.

--------------------------------------
RESTITUTION BASED ON LEVEL OF INJURIES
--------------------------------------

4. The main element of the administrative reparations is a
cash payment scheme that defines who will receive what amount
of funds from the state. Victims (or their beneficiaries) of
homicide, forced disappearances, kidnapping, and personal and
psychological injury causing permanent incapacitation will
receive 40 minimum salaries (approximately $10,000). Victims
of torture, injury not causing permanent incapacitation,
rape, and recruitment of minors will receive 30 minimum
salaries ($7500). In addition, 450,000 families victimized
by forced displacement will receive housing benefits (valued
up to $6750) separately through the state's welfare arm,
FONVIVIENDA. Victims can receive up to $11,000 total for
combined injuries.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
DECREE AS ONE COMPONENT OF GREATER NATIONAL REPARATIONS
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. Holguin said the decree does not mean the GOC "takes
responsibility" for injuries inflicted by illegal armed
groups. The perpetrators remain accountable for reparations
under Law 975. Still, over 80% of victims cannot identify

their perpetrators. Because of this, the GOC will provide
reparations as a gesture of "solidarity with victims." He
underscored the decree is only one component of a broader
national reparations plan. Victims who receive
administrative compensation retain the right to seek
additional relief through the judicial process set up by the
JPL.

6. Victims can register for administrative reparations at any
Accion Social office, at local Defensoria and Procuraduria
offices, and at mayors' and governors' offices. The GOC
plans an intensive media campaign to ensure the victims are
aware of their rights as well as the administrative process
to receive reparations. From the date of approval of an
application, payments will be provided to all registered
victims over the course of ten years starting in the second
semester of 2008.

--------------------------------------
PROTECTION OF VICTIMS REMAINS PRIORITY
--------------------------------------

7. In addition to the reparations decree, Holguin said
protection for JPL victims would be an ongoing commitment,
especially in 30 high-risk municipalities. Thirteen victims
were murdered last year, and 250 have complained to the
Fiscalia about receiving threats from illegal armed groups.
Additional resources for security forces will be an ongoing
priority. CNRR is also developing a model for the Integral
Attention to Victims, focusing on psychosocial and legal
assistance to victims.
BROWNFIELD

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