THE PYLON spoke with Roberto Carlos Vidal, president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), regarding the accountability that will take place this Tuesday, December 5 in Valledupar.
What is the objective of the event that the JEP will hold in Valledupar this Tuesday?
The first is to carry out the annual accountability that the jurisdiction makes to the country. We have chosen Valledupar because we will open an office in the city and we want to disseminate the work that the jurisdiction is doing in the Cesar and La Guajira.
What does opening an office in the region mean?
The jurisdiction, in addition to investigating, prosecuting and punishing the most serious crimes that occurred in the conflict, provides support and advisory services to victims to guarantee their participation.
In the office we will have our territorial teams and a working group from the JEP prosecutor’s office, which carries out investigations. In addition, psychosocial support will be offered to victims, and judicial defense for those appearing.
Since when does care start?
We hope that from this Tuesday.
What information will they provide in the accountability?
We are going to concentrate on explaining the work that the jurisdiction is doing. We have four cases that have occurred in the region. In Case Number 1, FARC kidnappings are investigated. The former secretariat has already recognized its actions.
Case Number 8 investigates crimes committed by the Public Force in association with paramilitaries and third parties.
Case Number 9 investigates attacks against ethnic territories. There is already a subcase that is being investigated in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and perhaps an investigation will be carried out in the Serranía de Perijá. And there are also the guerrilla attacks on the civilian population, which has a chapter on the actions of the Caribbean Bloc of the former FARC.
How is case Number 1 related to the former FARC progressing?
It has come a long way. Around 20,000 kidnappings were investigated over 10 years. It should be noted that the members of the former secretariat recognized their participation in the events and have played an important role in the construction of the truth.
What is being investigated is the behavior of specific fronts and blocks, in this case the Caribbean Block.
How is Case Number 3 of false positives progressing?
It is one of the cases that proved that false positives were a practice that occurred throughout the entire national territory, especially in Cesar, La Guajira and Magdalena.
The investigation ended in the indictment of a group of soldiers involved. The majority accepted his guilt. Those who did not recognize their responsibility will be subject to investigation by the JEP Prosecutor’s Office.
In May of this year, the JEP rejected Jorge 40’s submission: is that door completely closed?
An exceptional hearing was held that allowed this person to try to demonstrate his willingness to make contributions to the truth in the JEP. According to the magistrates, this could not be proven, which is why it is outside the jurisdiction. There are no new opportunities in the future that would allow him to try to enter. In principle, he already had one last opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to contribute and he did not do so.
How is Simón Trinidad’s submission to the JEP progressing?
It’s quite complex. Colombian authorities and those of the United States participate in his prosecution and conviction, in a separate trial. In the case of the JEP, Mr. Palmera expressed, through his lawyers, the desire to collaborate and offer information.
We are in negotiations with the American authorities to obtain Mr. Palmera’s access to the JEP, so that through a visit from officials or through digital media he can make contributions to the truth.
And the submission of Salvatore Mancuso?
As the country knows, the legal situation definition room made public its decision to receive Mr. Mancuso in his capacity as a paramilitary leader who would have acted as a hinge between the paramilitaries and the public force.
For now, the decision that was made was to accept it because it would have proven its willingness to make contributions to the truth and that the facts to which it refers are plausible and have an indication that they would be useful for the war.
How does the JEP carry out investigations of third parties?
The Jurisdiction has mandatory attendees, who are members of the former guerrilla and members of the Public Force. But we also have the authority to investigate third parties: both former State officials or private individuals involved in the conflict, who come to the JEP voluntarily. We have received many requests from third parties who want to join the JEP and resolve their legal situation.
Many individuals in the department have requested access and we are trying to encourage these people to appear at the JEP, because as a peace court what we seek is to help resolve legal problems through recognition and contribution to the truth.