Colombia’s peace tribunal defies an American extradition request

JESúS SANTRICH was supposed to become a member of Colombia’s congress in July 2018. As a former FARC commander, he was chosen to take up one of the ten congressional seats promised to the guerrilla group by the peace deal that ended the country’s 50-year armed conflict. But Mr Santrich, whose real name is Seuxis Hernández Solarte, could not be sworn in because he was arrested in April last year as part of an American-led undercover operation. A New York court indictment accuses him of conspiring to ship 10,000kg of cocaine to the United States. The Department of Justice has asked for his extradition.

Mr Santrich has put Colombia in a difficult position. The country signed an extradition treaty with the United States in 1979. But Mr Santrich is protected by the peace deal, which says FARC members can be extradited only if they committed a crime after December 1st 2016. President Ivan Duque, who was elected on a campaign pledge to modify the peace deal, wishes to extradite Mr Santrich. But his hands are tied. On May 15th the extradition was blocked by Colombia’s peace tribunal, known as the JEP, which investigates and judges members of the FARC and the armed forces for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The decision has pitched the JEP against the attorney-general, Néstor Humberto Martínez, who resigned in protest....

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