For over 40 years, violence in Colombia has pitted the government against several guerilla groups including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), 19th of April Movement (M-19), and the Confederation of United Auto-Defenses of Colombia (AUC). In 2002, almost all paramilitary groups constituting the AUC negotiated a peace agreement with President Alvaro Uribe’s government. Between August 2002 and May 2007, more than 44,000 former combatants demobilized. The AUC collectively disarmed. Thousands of FARC troops also demobilized.
The 2005 Justice and Peace Law (Ley de Justicia y Paz, 975/2005) mandated implementation of a reintegration process for former combatants and offered a framework for ensuring justice and reconciliation; victims were promised reparations, while former combatants were offered incentives to abandon violence. The government established the National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation (CNRR) and gave it eight years to complete work. The CNRR’s overall mission is to help ensure that all victims of the armed conflict have access to truth, justice, and full reparations as well as guarantees against future harm so as to promote peaceful coexistence and reconciliation. In carrying out its mandate, the CNRR seeks to ensure the success of national and local reintegration efforts in demobilizing guerillas and paramilitaries as well as transitional justice efforts in promoting victims’ rights, reparations, and reconciliation. The 13 commissioners represent key State agencies, government institutions, civil society, and victims.
The CNRR is a transitional justice mechanism effectively structured for involving women and addressing their priorities and needs. Beginning in 2005, The Institute for Inclusive Security worked intensively with commissioners, commission staff, government representatives, and various civil society organizations to facilitate and aid the CNRR in addressing gender in its operations. Mainstreaming gender involved advocacy for particular women to serve as commissioners, support for the creation of a gender unit within the commission, close collaboration with women’s civil society organizations, capacity building for prosecutors and
magistrates, and technical assistance to commissioners and staff.