It was my second accompaniment since I began work in Colombia. Tito had been on the receiving end of a severe beating two years ago and was headed down the river to El Pe√Īon for a court hearing of his case. As we settled into the community boat that would take us to El Pe√Īon, an hour and a half away, Pierre filled me in on Tito‚Äôs case with the comment, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs crazy, really. If it was Tito who beat them up, he‚Äôd already have been tried and sentenced.‚ÄĚ
As much as I know that this is true, and accepted it as he said it, a little piece of me still felt surprised. Why should this be true? When I consider the principle of the law, everything feels clear cut to me. If one person assaults another, the perpetrator must face the legal consequences of those actions, regardless of who they are. Why should the process change, become longer or shorter or more or less vigorous? The law is clear: physically and violently assaulting someone is wrong. Why, if this were Canada‚Ä¶
And it is this thought that stops me in my tracks, because I know that the reality of a broken justice system is true both here in Colombia and in my own country. The law favours certain people in both places. It favours the influential, the rich, those with resources. Above all, it favours the powerful, be it power of connections, money or skin colour.