Colombia | Guernica 37
After a 50-year-long civil war, the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP guerrillas have signed a Peace Agreement that inaugurates a transitional period in the country. This agreement led to the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms designed to clarify the truth about the conflict and satisfy the rights of the victims.
For Guernica 37, the work developed by the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and No Repetition (SIVJRNR) of Colombia is essential to carry out and consolidate the Peace Accord. Victims are the central pillar and the guarantee for the need to define the truth and ensure accountability for key episodes of violence committed during the armed conflict, as the basis of long-lasting reconciliation. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has the potential to develop new legal precedents that could reshape the work of international criminal lawyers and generate a valuable legacy for the whole Latin American region.
Guernica 37 investigations seek to collect enough evidence and information and identify systematic patterns of violence and specific criminal responsibilities to build legal cases to be filed before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. In the Colombian context, where violence has been grave and constant during such a long period of time, the methodology of emblematic cases allows us to focus on those crimes whose prosecution is necessary to ensure reconciliation.
Alongside our partner in Colombia—the Institute of Intercultural Studies of the University Javeriana of Cali— our team has engaged in an intercultural dialogue with Afro-descendent and indigenous communities from these two regions to set legally relevant and community-based criteria for the identification of emblematic cases and make a legal analysis of their experiences of violence in order to help them build a victim-led narrative of the conflict.
Additionally to our assistance to the Peace and Justice process and advice to civil society organisations and institutions in Colombia on Point 5 of the Peace Agreement, concerning truth and justice for victims, Guernica 37 also filed a lawsuit against Carlos Mario Jiménez alias “Macaco”—the former paramilitary member extradited to the United States—for the assassination of attorney Alma Rosa Jaramillo and popular leader Eduardo Estrada.
Almudena Bernabeu, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers was appointed as a judge of the People’s Tribunal for Sexual Violence in the framework of the Armed Conflict in Bogota, which concluded that systematic sexual violence had been used as a weapon of war in the Colombian conflict.
An Imperfect, Just and Necessary Peace