Approaches to Criminal Responsibility of Economic Actors in Transitional Justice Processes: Lessons from Colombia

Download the PDF

Sabine Michalowski, Professor of Law, University of Essex

Despite increasing awareness that economic actors can play a significant role in international crimes committed during armed conflicts, little international experience on how to achieve their criminal accountability in transitional justice processes exists. The innovative approach taken by Colombia in the Final Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in 2016 provides a fascinating case for analysis. In sharp contrast with the Colombian Justice and Peace process, which started in 2005, the Final Peace Agreement included economic actors in the remit of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a criminal tribunal specifically created to investigate crimes committed during the Colombian internal armed conflict. This Article provides a detailed examination of why and how these actors were included in the remit of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the contentious nature of this endeavour, and the lessons that can be learned from this for future transitional justice processes with regard to achieving criminal accountability of economic actors.