Colombia’s newly installed right-wing government of President Ivan Duque has filed draft legislation ordering that "under no circumstances" should investigative bodies such as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace or the Truth Commission be allowed access to military intelligence regarding national security.
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The Truth Commission had already requested information from the Ministry of Defense archives regarding the nation’s historic more than 50-year armed conflict.
The draft act, filed last Wednesday by the Democratic Center in the lower house of the Capitol, seeks to deny the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition access to classified state documents.
The bill would significantly curtail the powers of the Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition Commission; the Unit for the Search of Persons Disappeared in the Context of the Armed Conflict, and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).
Agreed by the previous governments with the now-disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during negotiations in Havana, Cuba, reduction of those powers "puts at serious risk clarification of the truth of what happened in the armed conflict," a representative told El Espectador.
The bill also proposes penalties for those caught requesting access to classified information, on the grounds that such actions ‘could generate irreparable damage to the security and defense of the state’ and ‘most of the members of the entities are of a leftist tendency.’
Colombian laywer and member of the House of Representatives Juanita Goebertus, who was part of the FARC negotiations, said: "It’s surprising this is the proposal of the Democratic Center caucus when this week the government of President Duque withdrew a Legislative Act project when he realized he was committing an error by seriously endangering the institutional reincorporation of the ex-combatants of both the guerrillas and the paramilitaries."