With the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), CITpax established in 2007 an Observatory in Bogota to monitor and analyze the process of demobilization and reintegration, and the implementation of the Justice and Peace Law. Based on information obtained in the course of field missions and meetings with relevant institutions and organizations, the Observatory produces periodical reports with technical and policy oriented recommendations to promote compliance with international standards of human rights and transitional justice. The Observatory is divided into four branches.
The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Branch (DDR) monitors the evolution of new, post-demobilization armed structures (their presence, composition, and modus operandi). In the Third Report, the Branch focused on three regions: Cordoba, Magdalena, and los Llanos. The DDR team provides a comprehensive evaluation of the social impact of reintegration, the level of sustainability of the process, and its contribution to reconciliation. While working in close collaboration with the institutions involved, the Branch conducts fieldwork in each new region incorporated in the reports, to study its particular dynamics and context.
The Branch of Justice examines the judicial processes, with the aim of identifying good practices and considering critical issues at stake in the formulation of indictments. Thus, the Branch aims at contributing to the global debate on transitional justice. After mapping the interaction between the Justice and Peace Law and relevant international standards, and while working closely with the General Attorney's Office, the team attends the free confessions (versiones libres) and other hearings involving the defendants (postulados) in Bogota, Medellin, and Barranquilla. Additionally, the Branch works on developing a database of jurisprudence and specialized documents. It also organizes workshops discussing controversies related to national and international criminal law, human rights and transitional justice.
The Branch of Public Policy studies government decisions and actions related to the Justice and Peace Law, including issues such as the dispossession and allocation of land, mechanisms to protect victims and witnesses, the extraditions of former leaders of paramilitary groups to the United States, the links between certain civil servants and congressmen to illegal armed groups (the so-called "parapolitics"), and policies related to truth-seeking and reparations.
The Branch of Victims studies the expectations and needs of victims participating in the Justice and Peace Process. Following consultations with victims and human rights organizations, the Branch designed an evaluation tool consisting of five indicators: the fight against impunity; participation in the judicial proceedings; reparation measures; truth-seeking about crimes against humanity and the whereabouts of disappeared persons. The Branch conducts field missions to collect relevant information and to exchange ideas on the implementation of reparation measures and programmes.
The Observatory has signed collaboration agreements with the Procuraduría General de la Nación and the General Attorney's Office. It also pursues cooperation agreements with other relevant institutions, international organizations and civil society in order to obtain reliable up-to-date information on the development of the process.
For additional information: www.citpaxobservatorio.org