Justice for Colombia statement in response to ongoing imprisonment of Jesus Santrich
3 May 2018
Justice for Colombia (JFC) is deeply concerned about the implications for Colombia’s peace agreement after the arrest of FARC Congressman elect and peace negotiator Jesus Santrich on 9 April 2018 and his wellbeing as he has been on hunger strike since his arrest. JFC is supported by over 6 million workers in the British and Irish trade union movements as well as the Parliamentary Friends of Colombia, a group of more than 60 MPs in the British Parliament.
Jesús Santrich was a key FARC negotiator in the 2012-2016 peace talks and one of the architects of the Colombian Peace Agreement. He is currently a member of the CSIVI, the Implementation Commission made up of three Government and three FARC delegates to monitor the implementation of the Peace Agreement, and he is Congressman elect for the People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force.
The arrest of Santrich on allegations of conspiracy to traffic cocaine at the request of the US with the aim of extradition presents the peace process with one of its biggest crises so far.
We welcome the statement by the Verification Mission of the United Nations which highlights that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (the transitional justice process set up as a result of the Peace Agreement) has the competence to initially deal with this case, according to Transitory Article 19 of the Legislative Act of 01/2017. We are also encouraged that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Colombian Supreme Court have reiterated that his case should be reviewed by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.
Given the importance of this case for the ongoing peace process and with Santrich on hunger strike since his arrest on 9 April, and recently hospitalised due to deteriorations in his health, it is imperative that the Colombian government ensure due process is observed and that his legal and human rights are fully protected.
JFC is also concerned about the slow progress of implementation of several areas of the peace agreement, the detrimental changes introduced during the legislative process which fundamentally distort some of the core principles of truth, justice and reparations, and the sharp spike in political killings of social leaders. We are also extremely alarmed that more than 500 FARC prisoners are yet to be released despite the Amnesty Law.
JFC calls on the Colombian government to respect the terms of the peace agreement and the institutions created within it and to ensure that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace is given full support in assuming its competence in the case of Santrich. We urge the Colombian government to take into account the humanitarian situation of Mr Santrich and the hundreds of other remaining FARC prisoners.