International Criminal Court monitoring murders of Colombian social activists

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has expressed concern over the ongoing murders of social activists in Colombia and said that her office is monitoring the human rights situation in the country.

In a virtual meeting with the European Parliament, Bensouda also gave her support to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the transitional justice component of the 2016 peace agreement, which has faced strong political opposition from certain quarters. ‘We support the efforts of that jurisdiction to ensure that there is adequate accountability for those responsible for crimes,’ she said, adding that this includes military officials behind the False Positives scandal of the 2000s, when thousands of innocent civilians were killed by the army and falsely presented as dead guerrillas.

Since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016, more than 500 social activists, including human rights defenders, community leaders and trade unionists, have been murdered across Colombia. According to Colombian human rights groups, the early months of 2020 have been the most violent period so far. The INDEPAZ NGO registered 114 such killings between 1 January and the end of May.