Findings on the sentences of parapoliticians by the Supreme Court of Justice, judicial processes and rulings of fiscal responsibility by the Comptroller in Colombia

May 17, 2022 | New

The current crisis in public confidence towards Colombia’s State institutions requires greater transparency. As a result, the Justice and Impunity Observatory has carrried out a study that seeks to contribute to the wider understanding of political corruption, judicial management and fiscal damage that accompanies the perpetuation of the phenomenon of corruption in Colombia.

In this second report, there is an analysis of the advances made in the judicialization of constitutionally protected politicians who have been prosecuted by the Supreme Court of Justice, using as an example the so-called “Parapolitics” case. This particular case was selected because of its close relationship to the political world of the country between 2007 and 2018: it posed a real challenge for the country’s justice to prosecute high-level politicians, and for that reason it is significant to understand how this process was carried out.

Findings: Between 2007 and 2018, the Supreme Court of Justice issued 62 sentences against people on trial for parapolitics.

Legislative Act 01 of 2018 granted the right to challenge convictions retrospectively (that is, they can now reopen the legal proceedings to review their case again). So far, five sentences have been challenged.

Likewise, information on management indicators from the Judiciary, collected by the Superior Council of the Judiciary between 2014 and 2020, is presented in the report so as to provide a general overview of the administration of justice in criminal matters and thus, validate the information that was previously shared with the public in the First Report from the Justice and Impunity Observatory.

Finding: Data from the Superior Council of the Judiciary confirms a decrease in the main indicators of the administration of justice in 2020, compared to previous years when comparing the number of convictions/acquittal decisions, the number of people convicted, the number of sentences handed down, among others.

The findings of the first report reached the same conclusion, using data from the Prosecutor’s Office. Although the trends coincide, it is crucial that we identify the reason why the figures between the two entities differ so much.

Finally, relevant information has been collected on the processes to determine fiscal responsibility carried out by the Comptroller General of the Republic. Fiscal management consists of the activities carried out by public servants and individuals who manage State resources through the acquisition, planning, guarding, investing and disposing of public goods.

Finding: Between 2014 and 2020, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Nation in Colombia issued 2,121 rulings on fiscal responsibility. Of these, 52% declare responsibility, 45% are failures without responsibility and 3% are mixed. The total amount of money from those rulings that find fiscal responsibility amounts to a total of 1.14 billion Colombian pesos.

For more information, read this report: