THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                       (South Brunswick, New Jersey)

For Immediate Release                            August 23, 2000

                        MEMORANDUM OF JUSTIFICATION
                      IN CONNECTION WITH THE WAIVERS
                        UNDER SECTION 3201(a)(4) OF
                               AS ENACTED IN

     The challenges faced by Colombia are a matter of national security
interest to the United States.  Our assistance package is crucial to
maintaining our counterdrug efforts and helping the Colombian Government
and people to preserve Colombia?s
democracy.  Moreover, the United States has important interests in
promoting economic reform, protection of U.S. citizens, and hemispheric
stability, all of which are addressed by our support for Colombia.
Pursuant to Section 3201(a)(4) of the Emergency Supplemental Act, and for
the following reasons, the President has determined that a waiver of the
certification requirements in Section 3201(a)(1)(A)(ii) and (iii) and
3201(a)(1)(B)-(E) is in the national security interest.

     Colombia confronts a drug emergency that directly affects the United
States.  In spite of aggressive counterdrug efforts, coca cultivation in
Colombia has increased 140 percent over the last five years.  This massive
rate of increase threatens to reverse the counterdrug successes in Peru and
Bolivia.  Ninety percent of the world's cocaine is grown, processed, or
transported through Colombia.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
estimates that up to 75 percent of the heroin consumed on the East Coast of
the United States comes from Colombia.  Illegal drugs cost our society
52,000 lives and nearly $110 billion each year in health costs, accidents,
and lost productivity.  The drug trade is also fueling the illegal armed
groups involved in Colombia's internal conflict, further exacerbating human
rights problems.

     The Administration supports the Congress? effort to ensure that human
rights are respected and protected in Colombia.  As we begin the
certification process, the Administration is committed to working with the
Colombian Government to protect human rights by making progress in all
areas stipulated by the law.  While the Government of Colombia is actively
taking steps to meet the seven conditions on assistance, we are currently
able to certify only one (Section 3201(a)(1)(A)(i)).  The Government of
Colombia will need some time before we will be able to certify several of
the criteria.  We continue to press the Government of Colombia to achieve
tangible results in these areas.  By the terms of the law, another
certification or waiver will be required prior to the obligation of further
funds in
FY 2001.  The Administration will continue to engage in an extensive
consultative process with the Colombian Government over the coming months
as we strive to be able to certify additional provisions.

     Consistent with Section 3201(a)(2), the State Department has consulted
with internationally recognized human rights organizations.  Senior State
Department principals met with representatives of these organizations on
August 2 to initiate an ongoing consultative dialogue on the implementation
of the U.S. assistance package.  Meetings were also held on August 10, 17,
and 18.  Our Embassy officials in Bogota also met with 15 Colombian NGOs on
August 2, and agreed to establish a similar consultative process.
Additionally, the Colombian Government has instituted its own formal
consultative mechanism with Colombian NGOs.

     For each of the six certification requirements that the President has
waived, this memorandum describes the steps the Colombian government has
already taken toward meeting the requirements, the reason they cannot be
certified at this time, and the further steps we expect them to take to
allow them to meet the conditions for certification in the future.

(1) Secretary of State must certify ?that the Commander General of the
Colombian Armed Forces is promptly suspending from duty any Colombian Armed
Forces personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed gross
violations of human rights or to have aided or abetted paramilitary groups.
. . .?  (Section 3201(a)(1)(A)(ii)).

     At the present time, the Military Commander of the Colombian Armed
Forces has only limited authority to promptly suspend from duty all Armed
Forces personnel credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of
human rights or to have aided or abetted paramilitary groups.  Currently,
the Military Forces have the authority to remove officers with a minimum of
15 years of service.  The proposed reform of the military career personnel
statutes, which is expected to become law by
September 14, 2000, will also give the Military Commander, General Fernando
Tapias, the authority to dismiss officers with fewer than 15 years of
active duty service.  Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) will continue to be
subject to removal from the Armed Forces by a senior military commander.
The Administration will strongly urge that the Commanding General use the
requisite authorities to suspend promptly from service Armed Forces
personnel facing credible allegations of involvement in human rights
violations or of aiding or abetting paramilitary groups.

     In several important cases, usually by order of civilian authorities,
senior-level officers have been suspended after charges have been brought
against them.  Examples include General Jorge Plazas Acevedo, arrested and
suspended in April 1999 in connection with the murder of Benjamin Khoudari;
Brigadier General Jaime Humberto Uscategui, suspended in April 1999 in
connection with the 1997 paramilitary massacre at Mapiripan (Meta); and
Lieutenant Colonel Jesus Maria Clavijo, suspended in March 2000 after being
arrested on charges of collaboration with paramilitaries and involvement in
?social cleansing? killings while a member of the Army?s 4th Brigade.

     However, there are still a number of documented cases of senior
security force personnel remaining on ?active duty? even while charges
against them were being pursued.

     On August 15, six children were killed and five were injured after
being shot by Colombian army troops.  According to a senior Colombian army
officer, the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second largest
guerrilla force, were using the children as ?human shields? following a
shoot-out between the Colombian army and the ELN.  However, witnesses of
the incident report that the ELN was not involved.  President Pastrana has
said he will personally oversee the investigation.

     According to the Human Rights Report of the Colombian Ministry of
Defense, 32 members of the Armed Forces were separated from service between
1998 and 1999 for presumed human rights violations.  During that same
period, the military justice system also discharged 65 police officers.  We
will continue to work with the Government of Colombia in order to monitor
further progress in holding military and police personnel accountable for
violations of human rights.

     Additionally, the Ministry of Defense reported that approximately
63,000 security force members received human rights training in 1999,
provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Colombian Red
Cross, the Roman Catholic Church, elements of the government and security
forces, and foreign governments.

     Nevertheless, there remain disturbing, credible allegations that
individual Colombian military officers continue to collaborate with
paramilitaries.  The Government of Colombia needs to take further, and more
effective, measures that aggressively prevent collusion between security
force personnel and paramilitary groups, and to take decisive disciplinary
measures against its personnel where appropriate before we can certify
compliance.  The Administration has raised these issues  with the
Government of Colombia repeatedly at all levels of our bilateral dialogue
and will continue to work with the Colombian Government to satisfactorily
address these concerns.

(2) Secretary of State must certify that ?the Colombian Armed Forces and
its Commander General are fully complying with Section 3201 (a)(1)(A)(i)
and (ii) of the Act. . . .? (Section 3201(a)(1)(A)(iii)).

     With respect to Section 3201(a)(1)(A)(i), President Pastrana?s
directive to the Colombian Armed Forces was issued only recently, so we
will need to monitor the extent of their compliance over the next several
months.  With respect to Section 3201(a)(2)(A)(ii), some Armed Forces
personnel have been promptly suspended when credibly alleged to have
committed gross violations of human rights; however, there are still many
cases where this does not occur.

     It is our expectation that the Presidential directive, which was
issued on August 17, will provide the requisite authorities with the power
to suspend from duty Armed Forces personnel credibly alleged to have
committed gross violations of human rights or to have aided or abetted
paramilitary groups.  We expect the Armed Forces and the Commanding General
to take prompt and immediate steps to use the new authority in the
Presidential directive.  Accordingly, the Armed Forces and its Commander
General cannot be said to be ?fully? complying at this time.

(3) Secretary of State must certify that ?the Colombian Armed Forces are
cooperating fully with civilian authorities in investigating, prosecuting,
and punishing in the civilian courts Colombian Armed Forces personnel who
are credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights. .
. .?  (Section 3201(a)(1)(B)).

     During the Pastrana Administration, there has been a gradual, but
steady, improvement in the cooperation between civilian authorities and the
Colombian Armed Forces in the investigation, prosecution, and punishment in
the civilian courts of military personnel who are credibly alleged to have
committed gross violations of human rights, but steps remain to be taken
before this condition can be certified.  President Pastrana has
demonstrated his Government?s commitment to human rights by the dismissal
of four generals and numerous mid-level officers and NCOs for collaboration
with right wing paramilitaries or for failure to confront them
aggressively.  The military high command, under the leadership of Defense
Minister Ramirez and General Tapias, has also stated repeatedly that it
will not tolerate collaboration between military personnel and paramilitary
groups.  However, security force actions in the field are not always
consistent with this policy.

     The human rights unit of the Prosecutor General?s Office (Fiscalia)
investigated, indicted, or prosecuted 303 security force members during
1999, including at least 12 officers, on a variety of charges including
homicide, torture, and sponsorship of paramilitary groups.  The Attorney
General?s Office (Procuradoria) and the security forces demonstrated a
greater willingness to follow up with instructions that those ordered
arrested be removed from their duties, denied the right to wear a uniform,
or turned over to civilian judicial authorities.

     Most recently, five Colombian generals and other ranking officers are
being investigated by the Procuraduria for failing to protect residents
from paramilitary massacres.  In July 2000, the Procuraduria reopened the
case against four army Generals and one Lieutenant Colonel for failing to
take appropriate measures to protect the residents of Puerto Alvira from a
May 1998 paramilitary attack.  One of these officers is Brigadier General
Jaime Humberto Uscategui, who was rearrested on July 31, 2000 in connection
with the 1997 Mapiripan massacre.  Additionally, an investigation was
opened concerning the former commander of the 5th Brigade, General Alberto
Bravo Silva, and four other officers for failure to act to prevent the
August 21-22, 1999 paramilitary massacre in the areas of Tibu and
La Gabarra.

     The military judiciary demonstrated an increased willingness to turn
cases involving security force officers accused of serious human rights
violations over to the civilian judiciary.  The military cites over 500
such cases since the 1997 Constitutional Court decision; however, some of
these cases involve the police, and many of them involve criminal activity
not directly related to human rights.

     Civilian authorities, including the Prosecutor General, have expressed
concern over the number of security force personnel who have escaped from
military confinement while awaiting trial in civilian courts.  As stated in
the Department of State?s 1999 Country Report on Human Rights for Colombia,
there are a number of cases of Armed Forces personnel accused of human
rights violations that have been adjudicated in the civilian courts but
progress is still insufficient to permit certification of this provision at
this time.

     The Government of Colombia is making concrete progress in ensuring
that military personnel credibly alleged to have committed gross violations
of human rights are brought to justice, but continued work is needed.  This
should include active cooperation with civilian authorities in executing
outstanding arrest warrants related to human rights abuses or paramilitary
activity; complete sharing of information with civilian authorities;
effective detention of alleged perpetrators of human rights violations
against whom there are arrest warrants; and, establishment and
implementation of effective measures to protect civilian investigators and
prosecutors from threats that impede their work.

(4) Secretary of State must certify that ?the Government of Colombia is
vigorously prosecuting in the civilian courts the leaders and members of
paramilitary groups and Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are aiding or
abetting these groups. . . .?
(Section 3201(a)(1)(C)).

     The Colombian military?s record in dealing with paramilitary groups
remains inadequate.  In some locations, elements of the army have attacked
and captured members of such groups; in others, individual members
tolerated or even collaborated with paramilitary groups.  At the end of
1999, Colombian military and security forces began to target more
aggressively paramilitary forces.

     In taking forceful action against paramilitary forces, many of these
armed encounters resulted in paramilitary members? deaths and the capture
over 300 paramilitaries according to 1999-2000 data from the Statistics
Center of the Colombian Ministry of Defense.

     The Department of State?s 1999 Country Report on Human Rights on
Colombia reports that ?the military judiciary demonstrated an increased
willingness to turn cases involving security force officers accused of
serious human rights violations over to the civilian judiciary, as required
by a 1997 Constitutional Court ruling; however, concerns about impunity
within the military judiciary remain.?  The Fiscalia is also vigorously
going after a number of military personnel for aiding or abetting
paramilitaries.  Although the Fiscalia is committed to prosecuting military
personnel colluding with paramilitaries, it remains burdened by competing
demands and scarce resources.  Our supplemental aid package will help the
Fiscalia deal with these challenges by augmenting and expanding the
recently created Human Rights Special Unit, and by providing training for
judges and public defenders.  The Fiscalia?s Human Rights Special Unit is a
task force comprised of more than 100 prosecutors, investigators, and
technicians responsible for the investigation and prosecution of human
rights crimes.  Formed in October 1999, this unit has received initial
specialized training in the United States on conducting criminal
investigations of cases involving multiple homicides, bombings, and

     As stated in the Department of State?s 1999 Country Report on Human
Rights for Colombia, the Government of Colombia ?demonstrated an increased
willingness to remove from duty security force officers who failed to
respect human rights, or ignored or were complicit in the abuses committed
by paramilitary groups.?  Since the August 1997 Constitutional Court
ruling, which more narrowly defined the constitutional provision that
crimes by state agents unrelated to ?acts of service? must be tried in
civilian courts, the military judiciary has turned 526 cases of possible
human rights violations over to the civilian judiciary for investigation
and possible prosecution.  Among the cases transferred during 1999 were
those of three full colonels -- the first time that the military judiciary
turned over cases concerning several high-ranking officers.  However, some
of the cases included in this figure do not involve gross violations of
human rights.

     The Government of Colombia is making progress in bringing to justice
paramilitary personnel and armed forces personnel credibly alleged to have
aided paramilitary personnel, but must continue to implement effective
measures to achieve this objective.  The Superior Military Tribunal
provided a list of cases transferred from September 1997 to the present
consistent with the Constitutional Court decision of 1997.  That list
indicates that, in 1999, 27 cases (involving murder, deprivation of
liberty, personal injury, etc.) were transferred to civilian courts.  In
January ? May 2000, 4 such cases were transferred.  In February, the
Government created (via executive decree) a Coordinating Center for the
Struggle against ?Self Defense? and other Illegal Armed Groups.  To date,
however, this Center has not achieved tangible results, such as the
establishment of a ?Search Block? to pursue paramilitaries, or the creation
of an early warning system to provide better protection to the civilian
population, or the development of an effective rapid response team to
follow up on investigations of human rights violations by paramilitaries.

     The Administration is strongly urging the Government of Colombia to
undertake all necessary measures to eliminate impunity within the military
justice system and to dedicate to the Fiscalia all necessary resources to
permit it to investigate and, as appropriate, prosecute members of the
paramilitary groups or members of the government security forces who assist

(5) Secretary of State must certify that ?the Government of Colombia has
agreed to and is implementing a strategy to eliminate Colombia?s total coca
and opium poppy production by 2005 through a mix of alternative development
programs; manual eradication; aerial spraying of chemical herbicides;
tested, environmentally safe mycoherbicides; and the destruction of illicit
narcotics laboratories on Colombian territory. . . .?  (Section

     The Administration does not believe that this criterion can be met.
The Colombian Government in Plan Colombia has set a goal of eliminating 50
percent of drug crop cultivation within five years (October 2005).  This
target is in keeping with the much-heralded reductions achieved in Peru and
Bolivia.  A 50 percent reduction is significant, realistic, and obtainable.

     Any plan for total coca and poppy elimination in this time period
would require more resources than are contemplated in Plan Colombia.  As
the implementation of Plan Colombia proceeds, it may be possible for the
Government of Colombia to revise its timetable for drug elimination; this
is particularly true for opium poppy elimination.  The Administration has
asked the Government of Colombia to determine a timetable, and an estimate
of resources, that would allow it to work towards a strategy of eliminating
coca and poppy production.

     With respect to mycoherbicides, we have made clear that the United
States will not support the use of mycoherbicides against the Colombian
coca crop unless three conditions have been met: first, a rigorous,
carefully supervised research and test program in Colombia determines that
mycoherbicides are safe, effective, and superior to existing chemical
eradication methods; second, a broader national security assessment,
including consideration of the potential impact on biological weapons
proliferation and terrorism, provides a solid foundation for concluding
that the use of this particular drug control tool is in our national
interest; and, third, the Colombian Government  agrees with proceeding with
the mycoherbicide program.

(6) Secretary of State must certify that ?the Colombian Armed Forces are
developing and deploying in their field units a Judge Advocate General
Corps to investigate Colombian Armed Forces personnel for misconduct. . .
.?  (Section 3201(a)(1)(E)).

     The military penal reform bill (which became effective August 12,
2000) requires, for the first time, that the military legal system operate
outside and independent of the chain of command.  Under this new penal
code, the commanding officer in the field would no longer conduct criminal
trials.  Instead, the code provides for the installation of professional
military judges.  Criminal investigations will continue to be conducted by
?judges of instruction,? who in essence are civilians with legal training.
According to the Colombian Ministry of Defense, the Colombian military is
in the process of establishing a JAG Corps.  Given the differences between
the U.S. and Colombian legal systems, the Colombian JAG Corps may differ in
important respects from the U.S. version.  The Administration believes with
international support, the JAG Corps will be fully developed and deployed
in the near future.

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