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  • Patricia Linares, president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

    Patricia Linares, president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 October 2018

The president of Colombia's Peace Court Patricia Linares demanded the Attorney General's office to respect the court's autonomy.

The President of Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) Patricia Linares condemned Thursday the General Attorney’s office for “meddling” in cases related to kidnappings by the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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In a statement, Linares said the Attorney General's office had “improperly meddled in its judicial autonomy and independence” by ordering an investigation into "Case 001," which is currently under review by the JEP,  a judicial mechanism set up during the peace negotiations between the Colombian state and the now defunct FARC.

“This action is openly breaching the judicial reserve that the investigations carried out by judges of the JEP enjoy. It is also clearly intimidating in relation to the judicial independence that the actions of the judges in charge of these cases maintain,” Linares said via the press release.

She also reminded the Attorney General's office that the JEP is a judicial institution of “constitutional standing and with judicial autonomy responsible for investigating and deciding the cases of grave human rights violations and violations of International Humanitarian Law perpetrated during the armed conflict.”

Linares said the peace court must be respected by Colombia in general, but “especially by Colombian authorities.”

This is not an isolated case of Colombian institutions attempting to undermine the work of the JEP that has as its main goal unveiling the truth of human rights violations by all actors in the armed conflict and providing justice to the victims.

In August, the government of President Ivan Duque presented a bill to Congress ordering that "under no circumstances" should investigative bodies such as the JEP or the Truth Commission be allowed access to military intelligence regarding national security.

Two months later, Congress approved changes to the JEP by ordering the creation of an exclusive tribunal for police and military agents, which risks delaying judicial processes against state security officials. This decision can still be overturned by Colombia’s Constitutional Court.  

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