Peace, everyone’s business!

Peace, everyone’s business!

November 29, 2020

Corporate accountability in transitional justice: lessons for Colombia

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This report deals with the implementation of the Peace Agreement between the FARC (guerrilla) and the Colombian government, signed in November 2016. The focus lies on the way transitional justice is embedded in the Peace Agreement. More specifically, ‘Peace, everyone’s business’ calls for the question how unarmed third parties, like companies who bear responsibility for large-scale human right violations or war crimes, can be called to justice for their actions.

While in the past transitional justice mechanisms (truth commission or special tribunals) often limited themselves to the role of armed parties in a conflict, some unarmed parties, as commissioners or financiers, have also played an important role within the armed conflict. An interesting and novel feature of the proposed transitional justice framework in Colombia is the fact that it will not focus solely on combatants in illegal armed groups and state agents, but also on these ‘unarmed third parties’ who participated directly or indirectly in the armed conflict.

Although the details of the transitional justice framework in Colombia are still being debated in congress, it seems worthwhile to look at recent trends and developments in the field of transitional justice regarding corporate accountability in other parts of the world and see what lessons can be learned from them for Colombia.

This report aims to stimulate social and political discussion on the desired role of business enterprises in Colombia’s upcoming transitional justice process. This is done by drawing lessons from transitional justice processes that have taken place or are still on-going in other countries.

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