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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 04:59 AM

Victims have yet to be compensated by 'parapoliticians' .

Victims have yet to be compensated by 'parapoliticians' .
Monday, 09 July 2012 14:57 Esteban Manriquez

A growing number of Colombian politicians convicted for paramilitary ties have been released from jail without paying compensation to their victims, reported El Tiempo Sunday.

The “Victims Law”, which offers payments of up to $11,000 to victims who can prove they were affected by paramilitaries, was passed in June 2011. Politicians sentenced after this date are supposed to contribute to a special fund that would ultimately compensate those who have suffered at the hands of paramilitaries since 1985. To date, no money has been collected for the fund, says the newspaper.

The amount of restitution varies according to the severity of the crime. At the higher end of the scale is former congress president, Javier Caceres who was convicted in April to nine years for collaborating with the now-defunct paramilitary group, the AUC and ordered to pay $3.4 million in compensation. Miguel Pinedo, who also served as the head of Colombia's congress, owes approximately $3.5 million after it was determined the AUC's Tayrona Bloc intimidated voters on his behalf.

To date, 44 politicians have been convicted of links to paramilitary groups but only 15 are required to contribute to the compensation fund, since they were sentenced after the bill was signed a little over a year ago. The government estimated that it would cost more than $33.6 million to compensate victims financially. This does not take into account the thousands of acres of land that is meant to be awarded to Colombians who were forcibly displaced by paramilitaries.


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