The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal and its Session on Genocide, impunity and crimes against peace in Colombia

Inaugural Session: 26th January 2021

Final Session: 25th-27th March 2021

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) will hold a Session in Colombia between the 25th and 27th of March 2021 to establish if the Colombian State is responsible for political genocide, impunity and crimes against peace, as denounced for several social movements, communities and victims. The Session will open virtually next Tuesday the 26th of January at 8am (Colombian time) on the Facebook and Youtube channels.

This will be the 48th session in the PPT history and the third in Colombia. Previous sessions in Colombia include the Session on Impunity for crimes against humanity in Latin America in 1991 and the Session on Transnational companies and rights of peoples in Colombia in 2006-2008. The opening of this session responds to the request made in April 2020 to the Presidency and General secretariat of the PPT by 126 organizations and more than 170 Colombian human rights defenders, artists, academics and political figures.

The 48th session of the PPT, “The Political Genocide in Colombia 2021”, will have as jurors Andrés Barreda (Mexico), Luciana Castellina (Italy), Graciela Daleo (Argentina), Mireille Fanon Mendès-France (France), Daniel Feierstein (Argentina), Luigi Ferrajoli (Italy), Esperanza Martínez (Ecuador), Luis Moita (Portugal), Antoni Pigrau Solé (Spain) and Philippe Texier (France) The Prosecutor’s Office will be in charge of the Colombian jurists Iván Velásquez and Ángela Maria Buitrago, and the Colombian State will be summoned for their respective representation and defence.

Within the framework of this session, social, ethnic, victim, human rights, and political organizations will denounce (i) the genocidal practices and in general the continuing and widespread political genocide that their members and groups have suffered throughout their existence; (ii) the crimes against peace that occurred after the signing of the Final Peace Agreement between the FARC and the Colombian State, and (iii) the impunity and absence of justice in the face of all these events.

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 The Permanent Peoples Tribunal is historically rooted in the Russell Tribunal on the Vietnam War (1966-1967) and is a direct continuation of the Russell II Tribunal on dictatorships in Latin America (1974-1976). Founded in 1979, the activity of the PPT is majorly based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples proclaimed in Algeria in 1976. According to its Statute, the PPT promotes universal and effective respect for the fundamental human rights of all peoples. It does this by examining cases of serious and systematic human rights violations committed by States, by non-State authorities, and by private groups or organizations. Throughout the decades, the Tribunal has accompanied the transformations and struggles of the post-colonial era, the affirmation of the development of economic neo-colonialism, globalization, the reappearance of war and migration. It has evidenced the persistence of serious crimes, such as crimes against humanity, against the environment and genocide, without there being a competent jurisdiction at the international level to prevent and punish said crimes.

The People’s Tribunal do not have judicial implications for those who are subjected (States, companies), but rather appeal to the ethical conscience of humanity to condemn serious violations of human rights and change the course of States and societies. In its Judgments, therefore, the Tribunal does not limit itself to the application of existing norms, but rather highlights the gaps and limits in the international system for the protection of human rights in order to trace the evolution of these violations.