CJA has been following the peace negotiations closely between the Colombian government and FARC, which initiated in 2012. CJA has been asked to advise several key civil society players on victim participation in the negotiation process with hopes to increase victims’ representation and participation in the transitional justice mechanisms that will be implemented post-conflict.
Colombia has endured the longest-running internal conflict in the Western Hemisphere. For over 50 years, a triangulated war between guerrillas, paramilitaries and government forces has resulted in a devastating loss of life. In the last 20 years, an estimated 70,000 civilians have been killed. Peace talks finally began in 2012 and peace accords between the government and the FARC (Colombia’s main and oldest guerrilla group) were approved by the Colombian Congress in the Fall of 2016, though many details are still being negotiated.
CJA has strong and long lasting ties with Colombia. In 2007, we started investigating human rights abuses committed in Colombian on behalf of victims. In 2010, CJA filed a U.S. civil suit on behalf of the surviving family members of two victims murdered by the Colombian paramilitary group Bloque Central Bolívar. To build evidence for this case, CJA’s attorneys maintained strong ties with survivor communities and Colombian civil society groups, traveling to Colombia regularly.