In Colombia, nominally Latin America's oldest democracy, the rule of law continues to be weak and impunity reigns. A culture of impunity, in which human rights abuses like displacement,targeting killings, and disappearances remain unpunished, has existed in Colombia for decades. Impunity, more than any other factor, has been responsible for prolonging the human rights crisis.
Not onlyare the perpetrators of human rights abuses like massacres and forced displacement not held to account, but those who work to prosecute those perpetrators, including witnesses, lawyers, judges, humanrights defenders, families of victims, and prosecutors involved in human rights cases, are regularly threatened and killed.
A UN report on Colombia published earlier this year found that at least300 people working as part of judicial investigations had been killed in the past 15 years. Colombia is the world's most dangerous country for trade unionists, and a staggering 95% of the roughly 3,000cases of assassination of union members committed over the last 30 years remain unprosecuted.
Despite some advances in some high-profile criminal investigations into human rights abuses, impunityremains the norm and most perpetrators have never been identified, let alone investigated by the courts.
Prominent examples include:
* Flawed paramilitary demobilization. Through a law known as the"Justice and Peace" law passed in 2006, a government-backed legal framework was created to facilitate the demobilization of illegal armed forces. However, the demobilization process fails toadequately address the brutal legacy of paramilitary abuse, and led to intensification of already high levels of impunity in the country, fails to ensure victims? right to justice, and did not preventdemobilized paramilitaries from being 'recycled' into the armed conflict in other roles.
The "Justice and Peace" law provided for significantly reduced prison time for human rights violations and other...