columbia

Dilemmas of Transitional Justice in Colombia

Co-PIs: Jennifer McCoy,GSI; Ryan Carlin and Jelena Subotic, Political Science

The Colombian government is currently negotiating with the FARC to end five decades of armed insurgency. As they do so, they must address the traditional peace versus justice issues within a new international context demanding higher standards for holding war crimes perpetrators accountable. The Colombian government approved in 2012 a constitutional amendment to provide the legal flexibility to meet its international obligations while also creating incentives for a peace accord: perpetrators could be tried and sentenced in court for war crimes, but then the sentences could be reduced or vacated. At the same time, domestically, Colombia faces its own public opinion pressures for retribution/accountability versus peace and reconciliation. Our project, funded by IIE/USAID, takes stock of the ongoing transitional justice debates in Colombia to ask two questions: first, how are stronger international accountability norms affecting attempted peace negotiations in the 21st century and, second, what is the impact of transitional justice on prospects for post-conflict social cohesion?

Findings:

Legitimacy Deficits in Colombia’s Peace Talks: Elites, Trust, and Support for Transitional Justice,”   Research and Innovation Grants Working Papers Series, February 8, 2016

https://www.usaid.gov/node/33416

Pitfalls Abound in Colombia-FARC Peace Talks” (with Ryan E. Carlin and Jelena Subotic), Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, August 28, 2014.