According to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, impunity can be understood as being: ‘the lack of investigation, persecution, capture, trial and conviction of those responsible for violations or crimes; regardless of whether the actors are agents of public power or individuals’.

In other words, the perpetrator of a crime who does not receive the corresponding punishment established by law, or who receives a lesser penalty, can be described as being subject to impunity. As a result, the State has an obligation to sanction and enforce a punishment for crimes and thereby manage these criminal incidents by all available legal means, since impunity fosters a culture that encourages the repetition of human rights violations and a sense of total defenselessness for victims and their families.

Incidences of impunity should be assumed by the State as part of its own legal duty, rather than viewing it as the simple management of particular interests, which depends on the procedural initiative of the victim or their family members to pursure appropriate reparations for the damage established by retributive justice.

Impunity is an anomaly or an irregularity that is present in every political regime and social order. Therefore, levels of impunity can be gauged through demographic studies that question people about the crimes they have been the victims of and the attention paid by the justice system with regard to their case.

How do you think we could we prevent impunity in Colombia?