Truth Behind Bars: Colombian Paramilitary Leaders in U.S. Custody
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Despite U.S. stated goals, review of available data indicates that the extraditions of paramilitary leaders have had adverse consequences for U.S. foreign policy by undermining rule of law in Colombia. The extraditions have (1) substantially diminished Defendants’ cooperation with ongoing human rights and corruption investigations in Colombia; (2) severelycurtailed access to remedies for Colombian victims; and (3) undermined U.S. counternarcotics efforts by prompting a ruling by Colombia’s Supreme Court to block future extraditions of demobilized paramilitaries to the United States. The United States should reform its policies and practices regarding criminal prosecutions of extradited Colombian paramilitaries to better support U.S. foreign policy interests by promoting Defendants’ cooperation with Colombian law enforcement. Active U.S. support of Colombian accountability measures will (1) strengthen the rule of law in Colombia; (2) address unsolved murders of Colombiantrade unionists, an obstacle to securing a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement; and (3) align U.S. foreign policy with international law.