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TLI Seminar Series: Title: ‘Corporate complicity in Colombia’

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SW1.18, Somerset House East Wing

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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Transnational Law Institute Seminar Series - Autumn Semester 2017/18

Speakers: Camilo Sánchez León (Director of Transitional Justice at DeJusticia), Prof Leigh Payne (Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies, University of Oxford), Laura Bernal-Bermudez (DPhil candidate, University of Oxford) and Prof Rodrigo Uprimny (Discussant) (Professor Emeritus at the National University of Colombia): ‘Corporate complicity in Colombia’

Time and Venue: Monday 5pm -7pm, Moot Court Room SW 1.18 (unless otherwise specified)

Convened by: Dr Nicola Palmer, Dr Liliane Mouan and Robyn Leslie

This semester the Transnational Law Seminar Series will explore the shifts in the locus of criminal accountability for international and transnational crimes. In international criminal law, there are notable moves towards domestic and regional criminal courts and a recent re-introduction of the potential for hybrid criminal courts in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. At the same time, the debates around who should have to account for their actions are broadening with states, corporations and shareholders included in a frame that has historically focused on senior military, political and religious leaders. This seminar series explores the changes that are happening in the law and interrogates the specific actors involved in these shifts in the location of criminal accountability. It includes lawyers, anthropologists, political scientists and journalists in a wide-ranging exchange on the actors, norms and processes at play.

Abstract: Colombia: Looking for alternative paths to justice for economic actors’ complicity with the conflict

Although much has been written about the Colombian conflict, the role of economic actors remains under-explored. Economic actors, including firms, individual businessmen and women, and business associations, have had an important role in the violence suffered by millions of victims for over 50 years. From the confessions of paramilitary leaders we know that they acted in complicity with economic actors to perpetrate abuses. We also know that this complicity has taken different forms: from financing paramilitary groups in ex change for security to joint criminal actions to appropriate lands through forced displacement. As expected, efforts to bring these actors to account in the courts have mostly tended towards impunity. This paper will use the Colombia data of the Corporate Accountability and Transitional Justice database (CATJ-Colombia) (which coded all mentions of complicity in the rulings issued by the Tribunales de Justicia y Paz from 2011 until 2015), as well as data from the Lands Restitution Processes, to provide systematic analysis of patterns in the violations, and an analysis of the results from judicial actions. Although the analysis of the CATJ places Colombia as a leader in Latin America (and the world) in terms of prosecution and convictions, the results are still very limited in terms of guaranteeing victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition (with only 9 convictions despite having over 400 actors recorded in the dataset). In this paper we move beyond the CATJ-Colombia, which suggests that claimants have focused on criminal actions to bring these actors to account, and present the Lands Restitution Processes (created as part of the Victims’ Law issued in 2011) as an alternative and innovative use of the law and legal institutions to seek reparation for victims of business complicity with land dispossession and forced displacement. While it reveals an additional way to channel accountability efforts, we will also show the trade-offs for victims and the persistent obstacles and risks that come from this alternative.

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SW1.18, Somerset House East Wing

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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