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Land in transition: transitional justice, land restitution and agrarian policy in Colombia

Nelson Camilo Sánchez León | October 19, 2017

This new Dejusticia publication presents an analysis on the transition processes in Colombia in order to address conflicts related to land ownership, tenure and use.


The ideology of transitional justice has transcended discussions about the punishment and penal provisions that will be applied to ex-combatants, and has become part of several conversations on the most important issues that Colombian society faces. One of these structural issues is the conflict over land regulation and the agrarian structures of the country.

However, there are debates in Colombia as well as in international discussions on whether issues such as the rural property model should be addressed from a transitional agenda, and whether transitional justice mechanisms are sufficiently equipped to undertake such a task.

This book analyzes public policy and normative regulation alternatives on land structure in societies that are advancing transition policies. The text focuses on the study of the Colombian case and, particularly, on the implementation of land restitution policy adopted through Law 1448 of 2011 and its complementary legislation. After analyzing the characteristics of this policy, the book proposes a normative theory, called civil transitional justice, that seeks to fill the legal and public policy gaps. These gaps could lead to the failure of attempts to reverse dispossession by not considering the legal challenges presented by the implementation of a complex public policy such as massive land restitution in a context of historical inequality in land access.

Find the entire book here

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