8/23/00: Plan Colombia Certification Requirements

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U.S. Department of State

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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement


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Press Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
August 23, 2000

Plan Colombia Certification Requirements

On August 18, Acting Secretary of State Loy, on the instruction of Secretary Albright, certified that the President of Colombia has directed in writing that Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights will be brought to justice in Colombia's civilian courts, in accordance with the 1997 ruling of Colombia's Constitutional Court regarding civilian court jurisdiction in human rights cases. The Acting Secretary made this certification based upon the transmittal of an August 17, 2000 directive from Colombian President Pastrana to the Colombian Minister of Defense, the Military Commander, and the Director of the Colombian National Police and to personnel under their command requiring that the military relinquish to the civilian judiciary the investigation, prosecution, and trial of grave human rights violations.

The Acting Secretary of State also determined that while the Government of Colombia is actively taking steps to meet the other conditions on assistance, and despite President Pastrana's commitment to improving human rights protection, more work needs to be done before the Administration can certify the six remaining conditions of section 3201, five of which address human rights-related criteria.

President Clinton has determined, pursuant to authority granted to him under section 3201(a)(4) of the Plan Colombia portion of the Emergency Supplemental Act, that it is in the national security interest of the United States to begin furnishing assistance made available under the Act to the Government of Colombia, even though the six remaining conditions of section 3201 cannot be certified at this time. Our assistance package is crucial to maintaining our counterdrug efforts and aiding the Colombian government and people in preserving Colombia's democracy and strengthening the rule of law. Moreover, it is in the national security interest of the United States to promote economic reform, protection of U.S. citizens, and hemispheric stability, all of which will be addressed by our planned support for Colombia.

The Administration believes the certification requirement will lead to strengthened protection for human rights in Colombia, and we are actively working with the Colombian government to make concrete progress in all areas stipulated by the law. The U.S. assistance in the Emergency Supplemental Act contains substantial increases in support for Colombian programs that promote human rights and strengthen the rule of law, including $48.5 million for support for human rights programs and security for human rights workers, $65.5 million for administration of justice programs, and $199 for alternative economic development programs throughout the region.

The Acting Secretary also certified, pursuant to section 3207 of the Act, that the U.S. Government publicly supports the Government of Colombia's military and political efforts, consistent with human rights conditions in the Act, necessary to effectively resolve the conflicts with the guerrillas and paramilitaries that threaten the territorial integrity, economic prosperity, and rule of law in Colombia. We believe that an integrated, comprehensive approach to Colombia's interlocking challenges holds the best promise of success.

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