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The Criminal Justice System of Colombia

For offenses committed before that date, Colombian courts would hear the cases. As a result, the cartel members faced light terms in Colombian prisons, contrasted with potential life sentences in the United States (Ambrus "Columbia," A4).

Critics derided the law as an attempt to please both the United States and drug traffickers, largely failing at the former. Enrique Parejo, a former justice minister with strong anti-drug credentials, said, ˘I donĂt believe this government has the will to extradite Colombian citizens÷ (Ambrus "Columbia," A4). At the time, most of the Cali cartelĂs leaders already resided in Colombian jails, serving light sentences while continuing to operate their drug business. This law insured that they would never do hard time in the U.S. Moreover, the Americans suspected that the law might be applied to non-Colombians, which could make the country a haven for international criminals (Constantine, International).

At the very least, Colombia reversed a 1991 law that had barred the extradition of Colombian citizens under any circumstances. The impact of that change, and the Colombian commitment to extradition, cannot be assessed for many more years, after American authorities build new cases against drug kingpins and then seek to extradite them from Colombia.

At the same time, however, Colombia did take some steps directed at weakening the cartels. Law 365 made money-laundering a crime, with penalties no


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The Criminal Justice System of Colombia. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:50, October 25, 2014, from
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