COLOMBIA: Gender Violence a Crime Against Humanity: Prosecutor General

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Colombia Reports
South America
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Prosecutor General Viviane Morales has said that gender violence occurring in the context of Colombia's internal conflict constitutes a crime against humanity.

Morales made this announcement during the third international conference on the Judicial Challenges Faced Regarding Crimes of Sexual Violence, the Office of the Prosecutor General reported Thursday.

Morales said that the criteria established by international treaties to which Colombia subscribes provide the basis for gender-based crimes to be categorized as crimes against humanity, domestically.

With regards to addressing the issue, Morales said that it is necessary to "advance in strategies, in proceedings, and through new methods, ways to tackle the problem and be able to hold responsible not only the perpetrators of the crime, but also the entire leadership of the criminal organizations."

According to Morales, the Office of the Prosecutor General has advanced this angle in the Justice and Peace process by introducing the theory of responsibility by line of command which, "transcends the notion of individual criminal responsibility in order to be able to target the leaders that in the course of the war, by their actions or by their failure to act, allowed gendered violence to take place."

Sexual abuse related to the conflict continues to be a serious problem in Colombia. Less than a month ago, on International Women's Day, the United Nations stated that it had received reports of a number of recent cases of neo-paramilitary forces perpetrating sexual crimes against women in various departments.