In the context of its on-going preliminary examination of the situation in Colombia, a delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor ("Office") of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") conducted a mission to the Republic of Colombia from 19 to 23 January 2020. The purpose of the mission was for the Office to engage in constructive discussions with the Government authorities to assess progress of national proceedings in relation to the areas of focus identified in the interim report on the situation, published in November 2012. In addition, the Office held valuable talks with representatives from international organisations and members of civil society, whose views and concerns continue to inform the Office's assessment of the situation.
The delegation's engagement with the authorities and other stakeholders focused in particular on national proceedings addressing the promotion and expansion of paramilitary groups; forced displacement; sexual and gender-based crimes; and, the killings known as "false positives". In addition, the Office held consultations relating to legislative and other developments that could have an impact on national proceedings relating to Rome Statute crimes.
The delegation further held consultations relating to the development of indicators and benchmarks in order to assess the current national efforts to provide accountability for Rome Statute crimes, including the
Special Jurisdiction for Peace ("SJP"), as well as proceedings carried out under the ordinary justice and the
Justice and Peace Law systems.
While the Office is yet to define the content of such benchmarks and conditions, initial consultations with the Colombian authorities and other stakeholders were carried out in the context of the visit. The Office stresses that its assessment of the national efforts is still ongoing and will continue alongside the development of the indicators mentioned above.
The Office looks forward to the continued engagement with the Government of Colombia, international organisations and civil society on this and other aspects of the preliminary examination.
The Office restates its support to Colombia's peace process and the implementation of exhaustive measures to achieve justice, in line with its obligations under the Rome Statute. In this sense, the Office reiterates the importance of the SJP and the necessity to maintain its integrity and independence, as well as the need to provide it with the necessary resources and support to carry out its important mandate.
The Office stands ready to support the SJP's efforts to develop adequate mechanisms, techniques and procedures, with a view to reaching decisions, which are both legally and factually compatible with the admissibility requirements of the Rome Statute.
The Office further notes the importance of developing rigorous and effective measures and systems for the proper implementation, verification and monitoring of the sanctions imposed by the SJP, in particular those imposing restrictions on liberty.
Finally, the Office stresses the importance of national agencies fully cooperating with the SJP, including by timely providing the information necessary for the SJP to fulfil its mandate, in particular the transmission of information gathered in all relevant judicial proceedings. Such cooperation should also include facilitating the voluntary appearance of persons before the SJP, and taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those persons.
The Prosecutor expresses her gratitude to the Government of Colombia for providing its support to the Office delegation's visit and facilitating the meetings with national authorities.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia and Burundi. The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela.
For further details on "preliminary examinations" and "situations and cases" before the Court,
click here, and
Interim Report (2012) and Report on Preliminary Examination Activities