Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Colombia since 2005


In Colombia, approximately 35,000 paramilitaries have demobilized since 2005 as a result of the negotiations between the Colombian government and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). As part of the demobilization agreement, the Justice and Peace Law was adopted, which offered former paramilitaries reduced prison sentences in exchange for their full confession, as well as "contribution to achieving national peace, collaboration with the justice system, reparation for the victims, and adequate re-socialization."

Next week, the Colombian courts will issue the first partial verdict in the Justice and Peace case against the paramilitary leader Hebert Veloza García, alias “HH,” one of the most significant cases of the Justice and Peace process. Veloza was an AUC commander in the Urabá region, and he confessed to having been directly involved in the killing of more than 3,000 people during the 1990’s.

Ahead of the verdict, ICTJ is launching a comprehensive timeline on transitional justice measures implemented in Colombia since 2005 that recognize victims' rights to truth, justice, reparations, and the guarantee of non-recurrence.

View the timeline of transitional justice in Colombia here

The timeline introduces the norms, laws, decrees, and High Court rulings that set out the parameters for transitional justice measures adopted by the Colombian state. It also includes other mechanisms and institutions devised and implemented to date, such as the Victims Unit and the National Center for Historic Memory.

“The purpose of this overview of the current situation regarding transitional justice in the country is to contribute to the debate on the most adequate model for Colombia going forward,” said Maria Camila Moreno, director of ICTJ’s Colombia program.

“International experience demonstrates the importance of having a comprehensive transitional justice policy and of linking all the mechanisms on the basis of an integrated approach, in order to enhance their contribution to social and political transformation processes," said Moreno. "It is only in this manner that Colombian society may overcome the legacy of human rights violations, recognize the truth about what happened, and lay down strong foundations to avoid a repetition of the past."

View the timeline in English or in Spanish, or read more about ICTJ's work in Colombia in the recent ICTJ Program Report