A Mixed Approach to International Crimes: The Retributive and Restorative Justice Procedures of Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace


Anna Myriam Roccatello and Gabriel Rojas

Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) aims to achieve criminal accountability through a mixed system of restorative and retributive justice. Generally speaking, the SJP envisions large-scale restorative justice measures involving public acknowledgments of responsibility, as well as concrete, symbolic, and collective reparations aimed at satisfying victims while simultaneously reintegrating perpetrators. This report describes the court’s mixed model, delves into its innerworkings, and critically assesses its restorative justice components and their impact.

Download the full report A Mixed Approach to International Crimes here.

In June 2019, ICTJ hosted an intense week of meetings with various members of the SJP, along with former combatants of the Public Forces of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), and the victims of Colombia’s conflict. ICTJ Colombia routinely meets with these stakeholders as part of its work, but the aim of this week was to specifically include various international experts on restorative and transitional justice: Professor John Braithwaite, Professor Adolfo Ceretti, Professor Roberto Cornelli, Maria Camila Moreno Múnera, and Anna Myriam Roccatello. This report is the result of these fruitful meeting with the stakeholders in the Colombian peace process.

Chapter 1 of this report gives an overview of the SJP’s innovative model, which can be considered a mixed restorative-retributive judicial organ. It also examines the potential value of such a mixed procedural approach, in comparison with the failures of purely retributive justice processes to achieve the specific aims of criminal accountability in a transitional justice context. Chapter 2 examines some of the various challenges for restorative justice in general. For convenience, those challenges have been divided into five categories: victims, perpetrators, judges, communications, and due process. Chapter 3 suggests various principles that the SJP should consider to help realize some of its restorative justice aims, while Chapter 4 suggests some specific procedures that the SJP may implement to achieve those restorative justice principles. Those readers who are familiar with transitional justice, the Colombian peace process, and the SJP may wish to skip Chapters 1 and 2 and move directly to the recommendations in Chapters 3 and 4. Finally, the report concludes with reflections on some challenges of the mixed approach and offers some general suggestions for how to move forward.

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