Colombia is a party to numerous international human rights treaties relevant to the current paramilitary demobilization process.168 These treaties require Colombia to give effect to the right to an effective remedy for the abuses committed by armed groups. Among the remedies required are prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial investigation, prosecution, and punishment of those responsible for abuses, effective guarantees of non-repetition, compensation to victims, and measures that uphold the right of victims and the community to know the truth about the abuses.
The American Convention on Human Rights, for example, states that every person has the right to simple and prompt recourse, or any other effective recourse, to a competent court or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws of the state concerned or by this Convention, even though such violation may have been committed by persons acting in the course of their official duties.169 This obligation to provide an effective remedy extends not only to abuses committed by agents of the state, but also to abuses committed by private parties and members of armed groups.170
In turn, an effective remedy incorporates obligations to thoroughly investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for violations. As held by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the State has the obligation to use all the legal means at its disposal to combat [impunity], since impunity fosters chronic recidivism of human rights violations, and total defenselessness of victims and their relatives.171
The recent report of Independent Expert Diane Orentlicher, appointed by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to update the United Nations principles on combating impunity, provides valuable guidance on interpreting the rights implicated in ensuring a remedy and reparations for the most serious violations of human rights.172 One injunction under the updated set of principles produced by Orentlicher (Updated Principles) is the duty of a state to adopt and enforce safeguards against any abuse of rules such as those pertaining to prescription, amnesty, right to asylum, refusal to extradite, non bis in idem, due obedience, official immunities, repentance, the jurisdiction of military courts and the irremovability of judges that fosters or contributes to impunity.173 The Updated Principles provide that even in cases where they are intended to establish conditions conducive to a peace agreement or to foster national reconciliation, amnesties and other measures of clemency may not be granted to perpetrators until the State has fulfilled its obligations with respect to thorough investigations of violations, prosecution, trial, and punishment.174
Of particular relevance to Colombias demobilization process, the Updated Principles state:
The fact that an individual has previously been tried in connection with a serious crime under international law shall not prevent his or her prosecution with respect to the same conduct if the purpose of the previous proceeding was to shield the person concerned from criminal responsibility, or if those proceedings otherwise were not conducted independently or impartially and were conducted in a manner that, under the circumstances was inconsistent with an intent to bring the person concerned to justice.175
States are increasingly understood to have obligations to take measures to give effect to societys and victims right to know or right to truth.176 Recent developments in international jurisprudence and State practice have strongly affirmed both the individual and the collective dimensions of the right to know, although the contours of this right have been delineated somewhat differently by various treaty bodies.177
Finally, Colombia has an obligation to provide for reparation to victims of gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, in proportion to the gravity of the violation.178
 Colombia has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Geneva Conventions, among others.
 American Convention on Human Rights, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123, entered into force July 18, 1978, ratified by Grenada on July 18, 1978, Art. 25. See also International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976, ratified by Colombia on 29 Oct 1969, Art. 2; Convention on the Rights of the Child, G.A. res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force Sept. 2 1990, ratified by Colombia on February, 27, 1991, Art. 39. United Nations, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, C.H.R. res. 2005/35, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/ L.10/Add.11 (April 19, 2005).
 Velasquez-Rodriguez case, Judgment of July 29, 1988, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R., (Ser. C), No.4 (1988), p. 176-77. Also note that Colombias armed groups, including the paramilitaries, themselves have obligations under international law pursuant to common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
 Paniagua Morales et al, Judgment of March 8, 1998, Inter-Am Ct. H.R., No. 3, para. 173.
United Nations, Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity, E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, February 8, 2005.
Ibid., Principle 22.
 Ibid., Principles 24 and 19.
 Ibid., Principle 26(b)
 Ibid, Principles 2, 4, and 5.
 United Nations, Report of the independent expert to update the Set of Principles to combat impunity, Diane Orentlicher, E/CN.4/2005/102, February 18, 2005.
 Velasquez-Rodriguez case, Judgment of July 29, 1988, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R., (Ser. C), No.4 (1988), p.166. The duty of the state to make reparations to victims of serious violations of humanitarian law is made express in, for example, Article 3 of the Hague Convention IV, as well as in Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2(3)(a) of the ICCPR. In cases where a person, a legal person, or other entity is found liable for reparation to a victim, such party should provide reparation to the victim or compensate the State if the State has already provided reparation to the victim. United Nations, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, C.H.R. res. 2005/35, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/ L.10/Add.11, April 19, 2005, Art. 15.