International Judicial Forums: "New Proposals for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide", Opening of the Forum by Dr. Camilo Montoya Reyes
Dr. Camilo Montoya Reyes
Prosecutor before the Superior Tribunal of Bogota, Colombia
Opening of the Forum
My warm greetings to the Global Ambassador of Peace, Dr. William Soto Santiago; Dr. Jesus Hernando Alvarez, Dean from Universidad Libre. My cordial greetings to Dr. Luis Gabriel Miranda Buelvas as well, President of the Honorable Supreme Court of Colombia; to my colleague and friend Carlos Ubate, Head of the Criminal Law Department of this University; to the honorable jurists and magistrates, and federal judges from Latin America who are visiting us today and who are visiting this alma mater; also to the professors and scholars of international criminal law who are here and who traveled from other countries, answering to the call of the Global Ambassador of Peace. My cordial greetings to the members of the National Army in Human Rights; the members of the National Police who are with us today, and also the esteemed students of Universidad Libre and those who are visiting us from other universities.
An International Judicial Forum: "New Proposals for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide". Why "international"? Because nowadays, criminal law has been globalized. We don't say... the concepts of sovereignty, the principles of legality are diminishing in the face of a crime without a country, resulting in the need for us to put an end to the maximum expression of atrocity in the world, which is the crime of genocide, recognized as a capital crime according to the UN and scholars of international criminal law.
Just as the Holocaust is identified as the paradigm of the act of genocide, genocide in turn is the capital crime or crime of crimes. For this reason, the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace calls on us to reflect, not based on—logically speaking—or resorting to a petition of principles, but based on the premise of discussing whether it is necessary to update these instruments of international criminal policy.
Did mankind progress when in 1998, 50 years later, the Rome Statute was a copy of the Convention? Is it acceptable that we have discriminated against political groups, and that nowadays politicide is not considered a crime in the world? As if... I say this with joy and I recognize it as a Colombian, and as a Colombian jurist: unlike Colombia's case, where the persecution of political groups (carried out against political groups), is considered genocide, as the President of the Honorable Supreme Court of Colombia pointed out.
Is genocide, as it was defined in 1948, only physical killing? Is there not a cultural genocide that the international community has not paid attention to? What about cultural absorption? What happens when a group of people are prevented from using their language? What about ethnocide? Why do we only criminalize the transfer of children? Where does that leave the forcible transfer of adults? Why is this left as a crime against humanity instead of being categorized as a genocide?
These are the questions that this forum aspires to answer.
And since we educate not only to impart knowledge but to ignite a flame, and above all to motivate people to act—because education is proactive—the idea of this forum is that we all come to an affirmative conclusion that makes it clear whether or not it is advisable that these instruments of international criminal policy be revised.
That is the call that the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace has made, under the leadership of the Global Ambassador of Peace, Dr. William Soto Santiago. Because we begin with the premise that absolute truth does not exist, the truth is assertive, the truth is not discovered like something to be unveiled; the truth is built. And here, with our ideas, with our reflections, we will be building the truth.
Thank you very much.