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Enforced Disappearances in Colombia: A Plea for Synergy between the Courts

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Currently, thousands of people each year become the victims of enforced disappearance in Colombia. There is growing pressure for the national courts to prosecute perpetrators, deterring others who might commit the crime, and for intervention by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Enforced disappearance was chosen as the paradigmatic crime for this article because it vividly demonstrates the incapacity of the State to respond to the offense and the need for international intervention. The IACHR and the ICC each fulfil different fundamental purposes and both are needed at this time in Colombia. To prevent jurisdictional conflicts, the two tribunals must exercise comity towards one another. As the IACHR has already tried cases, this article proposes that the ICC should use the IACHR's jurisprudence as a frame of reference when judging a case's admissibility under its own Complementarity Principle (Art. 17), and also with regards to certain evidentiary standards and victim procedures.

Affiliations: 1: Juris Doctoral student, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA


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