August 1, 2005

Smoke and Mirrors

Colombia's demobilization of paramilitary groups

I.Summary and Recommendations
The Government's Record to Date
Implementation of Demobilizations
The OAS Mission in Colombia
Future of the Demobilization Process
To the Colombian Government:
To the Member States of the OAS:
To International Donors to Colombia and the OAS Mission:
To the United States Government:
II. Background: Paramilitary Violence, Wealth, and Power
Profits from Drugs and Crime
Political Control and Corruption
High Pay for the Troops
Paramilitary Atrocities
Military-Paramilitary Links
III. Demobilization Negotiations
IV. Recent Paramilitary Demobilizations
Steps in a Collective Demobilization
Failures in Implementation of Collective Demobilizations
Failure to Request Aliases
Failure to Maintain a Record of Arms Possession
Failure to Include Prosecutors from the Human Rights Unit in the Team of Prosecutors Questioning Demobilized Paramilitaries
Failure to Ask Questions About Past Crimes or the Groups' Operations and Assets
Superficial Checks of Demobilized Paramilitaries' Backgrounds
Inadequate Monitoring of Demobilized Paramilitaries
Failure to Share Information with Local Authorities
Inadequate Policies to Prevent Recruitment
V. The Government's Record to Date
Truth and Reparation
Lasting Peace and Dismantling of Paramilitary Structures
Continued Paramilitary Control
Partial Demobilizations
Wealth and New Recruitment
VI. The Role of the OAS Mission
VII. Future Demobilizations
Investigation and Prosecution of Crimes and Abuses is Greatly Restricted
A Single Reduced Sentence as low as Two or Three Years Applies to All "Accepted" Charges
Political Status
Opportunity to Avoid Extradition
Full and Truthful Confession is not a Condition to Get Sentence Reductions
No Incentives to Ensure Turnover of All Illegal Assets and Disclosure of Information about the Group's Structure and Finances
Commanders Can Receive Sentence Reductions without Ensuring their Forces' Cessation of Abuses
VIII. Colombia's Obligations under International Law..
IX. Conclusion