Spanish – Who would even side with a child rapist? Common sense dictates that no one would. At least no one in a decent mental state and who has the bare minimum empathy. But in Colombia, the country where the worst murderers of history have ten seats in the parliament, some members of Congress have decided that the regular justice system should not prosecute sexual misconduct against a minor “committed in the bounds of armed conflict.” Instead, the rapists will benefit from transitional justice.
The country plunged into chaos with the strike that began on 21st November. Amid the lootings, deaths, burglaries that have only now started to wane, Colombians soon forgot what happened in Congress on 18th November. But the gravity of the situation demands that we turn our attention back to it and reflect on the power of the FARC and the bleak future of the country if we don’t make radical and urgent changes.
Because of the agreement signed in Cuba between Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, sexual offenses against minors, committed by FARC guerrillas, will not be judged by the ordinary courts but will go to the JEP, the transitional justice that as we all know, and as Rodrigo Londoño, leader of the FARC, has openly said, is a court “created by the insurgents themselves.”
The maximum sentence for rape in Colombia is 60 years in the ordinary justice system. In the transitional justice system, however, if the offender confesses, the maximum sentence is eight years after which the rapist will be released from prison.
What punishment can we expect the rapist guerillas to get at a tribunal “made by the same guerillas.” We don’t know because they haven’t said anything. The JEP has also considered restorative justice and other alternatives to imprisonment. So we don’t know, for example, if they will put the rapists out on the streets to pay for their crimes. The only thing we know that if there is an admission of guilt, the maximum sentence is eight years after which the rapists will be released.
A few weeks ago, Ivan Duque’s government proposed constitutional reform, whereby, in future “peace agreements” with terrorist groups, sexual offenses against minors will be excluded from the benefits of the transitional justice system. However, this reform did not pass in Congress.
As a result, the crime of raping children will still be treated with special consideration. Is the rape of a minor political crime? Is it essential to rape children to advance socialism?
For obvious reasons, children have a special protection status in the Colombian constitution, and there must be stringent punishments for crimes against humanity. However, in Colombia, in violation of the constitution, if the perpetrators of sexual crimes against minors are guerrillas, they get incredible benefits.
If Rafael Uribe Noguera, the rapist and murderer of the girl Yuliana Samboni, had said that he was a guerrilla, he would not be imprisoned and sentenced to more than 50 years in prison; he would be free. He could even be a politician and speak at conferences. The JEP would investigate Uribe Noguera, and we would be waiting to see if that transitional justice would give him the maximum sentence of eight years.
I have always thought that the FARC guerrillas, not even in their most cherished dreams, imagined having so much political power and benefits. Yes, in Colombia, the criminals pay to be certified by the FARC as guerrillas so that they can get out of the regular justice system!
The fact that the FARC opposed the bill mentioned above in Congress is predictable. But it is inexplicable and outrageous that they got the support of other political parties. They openly sided with the guerillas who have raped children and turned their backs t those children who have been victims of rape.
Senator Gustavo Bolivar, of the “Decentes,” Gustavo Petro’s party, justified the actions of his bench and friends saying the following:
The peace bench (40 senators) did not vote because every unilateral change in the peace agreement results in many exFARCs preferring to dissent. We don’t want more children recruited or raped, which is what happens when you stir up the treaties.
At the very least, Bolivar honestly acknowledges that the FARC has raped minors and that it is very likely that they will continue to do so. But he has the nerve to say that since he does not want more children to be recruited and raped, the perpetrators must get similar benefits. Impunity for rapists so that they do not continue raping children, is that what the senator is proposing?
Most of the arguments of those who decided to overturn the reform are along the same lines. It seems that a significant number of Colombian senators are afraid that the ten congressmen of the FARC will return to the forest to accompany what they now call “dissidents” of the FARC. Therefore, they vote with them and defend them in Congress.
I think there are many reasons for the unusual collapse of the reform; some will have been paid, others will simply benefit from the establishment of the agenda of the most radical left, and surely there are those who are affected by what Bolivar says?
The government will try to present the bill again in March 2020. We will see if some congressmen decide to side with the victims and not with the perpetrators by that time. I don’t think it is likely. These congressmen have neither ethics nor shame; it is pure moral depravity.
In any case, Bolivar’s argument is meaningless; the bill they buried would only affect the signatories of future agreements. The FARC guerrillas have already been assured that their sexual crimes will go to the transitional justice, a tribunal that, I reiterate, according to Timochenko himself, “was created by the insurgents themselves.” They raped, committed all kinds of crimes, and then put their own judges on the bench; Juan Manuel Santos did much damage to Colombia with the damned peace agreement!
It seems that concerning sexual crimes against minors, all is lost in Colombia. However, international justice remains. Since 2002, Colombia has been a signatory to the Rome Statute, an instrument that considers sexual violence, including that committed against minors, as a war crime. So we hope that if the Colombian justice system fails, FARC rapists will have to answer to international justice. We have to move in that direction.
And to the ordinary Colombians, we are left with social condemnation; we are left to punish in the ballot boxes and call out on social media the Greens, the Polo, the Decentes, and all the congressmen who left the premises so that a bill against child rapists would fail.