Which are they?
The satisfaction measures are part of the individual and collective dimensions of reparations, which seek to redress pain through the reconstruction of truth, the dissemination of historical memory, and the restoration of victims’ dignity.
During the individual reparation route, the satisfaction measures are, mainly, (i) the dignity State message or dignity letter: (ii) the exemption of the obligatory military service and the retirement from it; (iii) the processes of responsibilities acknowledgements and the enquiries for public forgiveness and (iv) the support to the body deliveries of the victims of forced disappearances and homicides, carried out by the Attorney’s General Office.
There are also other actions as the support to local initiatives of memory and commemoration acts, which are not developed individually but with victims’ organizations. These groups have a common interest but are not recognized as collective subjects –targets of reparation according to the Law 1448-, because they became active after the suffering fact. For example, the organizations of victims of forced disappearance, the organizations of displaced persons, among others.
How do they materialize?
I. The dignity State message or dignity letter
The dignity State message –ordered by decree number 4800 of 2011- is a State message acknowledging the victim’s condition and exaltation of his/her dignity, name and honor, which is given with the compensation letter, at the moment of the implementation of Attention, Assistance, and Integral Reparation Plan (PAARI), or in the Comprehensive Reparation by Differential Approach sessions.
II. Exemption and retirement from the military service
Law 1448/2011 states that victims recognized by the Victims Register will enjoy, as a measure of satisfaction, the exemption of the compulsory military service, as stablished in the Colombian legislation.
For the exemption measure of the compulsory military service, the victims should do the listing procedure available in the Army’s website created for this purpose, www.libretamilitar.mil.co, to clear their military situation.
When the victim is already in the Army, he can retire. This person should submit a written request for this purpose to the Army or the military unit in which he is serving.
III. The processes of recognition of responsibilities and public forgiveness requests
Law 1448/2011, in article 139, establishes among the satisfaction measures the “publication of apologies and recognition of responsibilities of victimizers” and the “public recognition of responsibilities from those perpetrators of human rights violations”.
In this framework, the Satisfaction Measures National Subcommittee created the guidelines to develop processes of public recognition of responsibilities, in the comprehensive reparation route.
Among the criteria, these bullets are taken into account:
- The participation of the victims, focusing on the differential and gender-sensitive approach.
- The recognition of the responsible actors.
- The media coverage.
- The State presence.
- The communities, organizations, NGO and the Academy attendance.
- The follow-up to the process.
IV. Follow-up on the delivery corpses of forcedly disappeared victims to their families, a process developed by the Attorney General’s office
Article 139 of the 1448/2011 law establishes as a satisfaction measure: “to contribute in the research of the missing persons and to cooperate in the identification of bodies and their subsequent burials, according to the family and community traditions, through the relevant entities in charge”.
These ceremonies put an end to years of waiting that families have faced. Photographic records are done there to reinforce the historical memory of the process, to dignify and recognize the forced disappearance and homicide victims.
The Victims Unit joined the coordination and development of the psychosocial support to the families in April 2012, in order to give the families a comprehensive attention, and to guide them about their rights to know the truth, justice and the comprehensive reparation, promoting a proper space to support them in the Unit’s regional headquarters.
In this sense, the Psychosocial Team of the Unit assumed the support process, coordinating the regional headquarters and the Register office.
V. Support to local initiatives of memory and commemoration acts
The commemoration acts and the support to local memory initiatives have made possible to tell what happened since the victims’ vision, through the use of different tools, as art, culture, theater, photography, music, among other expressions. They contribute to transform the collective imaginary built around war, which have sometimes justified the violent acts and have stigmatized the victims.
For this reason, the Unit, through its regional headquarters in all the country, receives the proposals or projects from the victims to develop local initiatives of memory and commemoration acts. Some examples of these acts are the 9th of April (National Day of Memory and Solidarity with the Victims), the last week of May and the 30th August (Week and International Day of the missing detained), 25th May (National Day of the Women Victims of Sexual Violence during the Armed Conflict), among others.
The majority of these actions are built up in the regional headquarters, thanks to inter-institutional round-tables or participation tables. These are not actions for collective reparation subjects, because their procedures are different.