Cablegate: New "Law of Justice and Compensation" Submitted To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

id: 15998
date: 4/14/2004 17:17
refid: 04BOGOTA3775
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: UNCLASSIFIED
destination: 04BOGOTA3346
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

----------------- header ends ----------------



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) At an April 12 meeting with the local diplomatic
corps, High Commissioner for Peace Luis Carlos Restrepo
provided the following detailed sequence for the operation of
the draft &Law of Justice and Compensation,8 a new version
of the previous &alternative sentencing" or "conditional
parole" law, which establishes the legal framework for peace
talks with all illegal armed groups, most immediately with
illegal self-defense forces, otherwise known as
paramilitaries (reftel). The law (sent to WHA/AND) should be
debated in Congress within the next two weeks. The
government believes it has the votes to pass the law. During
the briefing to more than 80 ambassadors, Restrepo reiterated
that extradition was not on the table in negotiations with
the paramilitaries.

2. (U) The proposed legal approach would function as follows:

Preconditions for Benefits

a. An illegal armed group (IAG) declares and fulfills a
cease-fire and signs a peace agreement with the government.

b. The IAG provides a list of members who are potential
beneficiaries of the Law of Justice and Compensation
(exclusively for crimes related to the IAG's activities).

c. The government reviews the list and submits it to the
Fiscalia (Prosecutor General's Office) for investigation and
prosecution and to the newly constituted "Tribunal for Truth,
Justice, and Compensation" for eventual judgment and
sentencing. The Tribunal will require each potential
beneficiary to provide restitution to victims, pay
compensation, and cooperate in peace-making.

First Stage with the Fiscalia: Investigation

d. A special unit of prosecutors from the Fiscalia reviews
all open investigations against each potential beneficiary.

e. The unit combines all these legal proceedings into one
case and completes the investigation.

f. The investigation results in either an indictment (in
cases that, under normal circumstance, would go to trial) or
a plea bargain.

g. The unit submits its findings to the Tribunal.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
First Stage with the Tribunal: Judgment and Sentencing
--------------------------------------------- ---------

h. The Tribunal canvasses judges throughout the country for
pending charges and prior convictions against the potential

i. The Tribunal combines all pending charges into one case
and determines a single finding of responsibility for each
potential beneficiary.

j. It combines this judgment with any prior convictions and
issues one consolidated sentence for each individual.

k. The Tribunal submits an opinion to the President for each
potential beneficiary, with a recommendation on whether or
not an individual should benefit from an alternative sentence.

First Presidential Review

l. The President reviews the Tribunal's opinion.

m. The President cannot overrule a recommendation against
granting an alternative sentence.

n. The President decides who will benefit among those
recommended for an alternative sentence.

o. The President returns the approved list to the Tribunal.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Second Stage with the Tribunal: Alternative Sentencing
--------------------------------------------- ---------

p. The Tribunal issues an alternative sentence to each
beneficiary (between five and ten years in confinement).

q. The Tribunal suspends the remainder of the original

r. The Tribunal determines what reparations the beneficiary
must make to victims.

s. The Tribunal determines what peace-making activities the
beneficiary must undertake.

t. The Tribunal imposes auxiliary punishments, such as a
suspension of the right to carry a firearm or hold elected

u. The Tribunal submits its decision to the President.

Second Presidential Review

v. The President determines where the beneficiary will serve
the alternative sentence.

Fulfillment of the Alternative Sentence

w. After completing the alternative sentence and fulfilling
all other obligations, a beneficiary enters a period of
supervised parole that last for either five (if the
alternative sentence was for less than six years) or ten
years (if the alternative sentence was for six or more

x. If a beneficiary fails to comply with his or her parole
conditions, including eschewing criminal activity and
complying with auxiliary punishments, the alternative
sentence will be revoked and the original sentence reimposed.

y. If a beneficiary complies with all parole conditions, he
or she will be released without further obligations beyond
those of any other citizen.

3.(U) The law would expire on December 31, 2006 (almost five
months after President Uribe's term is over). Both the
Brazilian and the Italian representatives questioned whether
this would give the IAGs more than two years to continue to
commit atrocities. Restrepo said the GOC had considered that
possibility and the alternatives, and in the end had decided
that providing an ultimatum with a reasonable, but limited,
time for the law's implementation was the best approach. He
also said that the GOC wanted to time the law so that the
next government, which will take office in August 2006, could
evaluate its results and seek any changes it wanted.

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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