Why crimes in Colombia prescribe and people go free: these are the most common reasons

Why crimes in Colombia prescribe and people go free: these are the most common reasons
Why crimes in Colombia prescribe and people go free: these are the most common reasons

As detailed by the entity, it would be talking, on average, annually, of 6,000 closed cases. So far this year, for example, there is talk of 5,361 prescriptions per day, so there are 19.8 cases that are concluded without clear resolutions

According to figures from the Superior Council of the Judiciary, from 2019 to September 2022, 26,694 criminal cases prescribed, that is, their validity expired before the country’s courts to be resolved. As detailed by the entity, it would be talking, on average, annually, of 6,000 closed cases. So far this year, for example, there is talk of 5,361 prescriptions per day, so there are 19.8 cases that are concluded without clear resolutions. In addition to the numbers that that agency has in its registry, there is also a list of the crimes that most tend to prescribe in Colombia. Those who lead that group of crimes are related to attacks against economic assets.

Theft, fraud, unfair administration, among others related, are the ones that tend to be forgotten the most. In the previously mentioned period of time, it is estimated that 5,045 cases related to these crimes prescribed. Among the set of crimes that tend to remain unfinished satisfactorily are those that affect public safety, a crime that had 3,384 prescriptions. Following this are crimes that have affected public health, with 3,365 prescriptions; against life and personal integrity, 2,514, and crimes against the family, with 2,382 prescriptions.

Regarding individual crimes, the ones with the most prescriptions are those related to drug trafficking, with 830 of them between 2019 and 2022; arms trafficking, which has 750 prescriptions; food shortages, with 437 and aggravated theft, with 392 due dates.

According to what experts argued to the newspaper El Tiempo, there are several reasons why this happens. The lawyer Dalila Henao. For example, she highlighted, to that national communication medium, that one of the reasons has to do with structural failures. “We believe that it is rigorous to establish the growth of the personnel plant, which is materialized in more offices for the criminal jurisdiction and more prosecutors in charge of investigations”said, for his part, to that newspaper, Hernando Herrera, director of the Excellence in Justice Corporation (CEJ).

Within the same regulations, the statute of limitations for crimes against humanity, war crimes and sexual crimes against minors may not be less than five years. REUTERS/Luis Jaime Acosta
Within the same regulations, the statute of limitations for crimes against humanity, war crimes and sexual crimes against minors may not be less than five years. REUTERS/Luis Jaime Acosta

That same entity, in fact, highlighted that by the year 2021, for example, there was an average of 11.6 judges, 9.2 prosecutors and 7.8 defenders for every 100,000 inhabitants. Also, the expert explained that for that year there was a high congestion of cases, in fact, out of every ten cases, six remained unresolved. On the other hand, according to figures from the CEJ, by 2021, 1,425,905 criminal proceedings entered the Accusatory Oral Criminal System. By the end of that period, 6,958 criminal cases were prescribed.

It is noteworthy, according to Colombian regulations, a crime prescribes taking into account the maximum penalty established in the Penal Code. Limits cannot exceed 20 years for most crimes. On the other hand, it cannot exceed 30 years for crimes related to forced disappearance, torture, the murder of members of union organizations, the murder of human rights defenders, the murder of journalists, and forced displacement.

Within that same regulation, the statute of limitations for committing crimes considered against humanity may not be less than five years. war crimes and sexual crimes against minors.

Precisely, this year, with regard to the last mentioned crime, the Prosecutor’s Office commented: “The interest in eradicating impunity cannot be translated into the adoption of political-criminal measures that maintain indefinite time the access of victims to the administration of justice. and that they sacrifice, incidentally, the protection of procedural guarantees for the accused. Indeed, the indefinite extension in time of the investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct leads to difficulties in the collection of material evidence and physical evidence that affects the rights of the victims and the defendant, especially when it comes to crimes of this nature.”

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The article is in Spanish

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