Thursday 16 September 2021

The 5 Points You Need to Know About Colombia’s Justice Deal

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Timochenko in Havana on Wednesday afternoon | Photo: teleSUR
Timochenko in Havana on Wednesday afternoon | Photo: teleSUR

TODAY COLOMBIA – In a historic meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Havana, a partial agreement was reached over transitional justice and victims’ reparations between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC head Timochenko.

1. A Special System for Truth, Justice and Reparations: FARC and Colombian state leaders agreed on a Special Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparations guaranteeing not to repeat the crimes of the past. The system will operate under the authority of the Colombian administration and includes the creation of a Commission for Truth, Coexistence and No Repetition meant to serve the victims’ interests.

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2. The Creation of Special Jurisdiction to Indict Perpetrators: This jurisdiction will be in charge of judging and sentencing perpetrators of crimes during the conflict. This system will concern all the conflict’s actors – guerrilla members and state agents and even funders of the armed conflict like businessmen or industrialists who funded guerrilla or state combatants.

The jurisdiction will be composed of two courtrooms, one dedicated to sentencing the perpetrators of crimes who are willing to collaborate with the peace accord. These perpetrators will be “effectively restricted of freedoms and rights” but allowed alternatives to prison, like social work. If the crime they are being accused is considered “serious,” they will face between five to eight years of restrictions “in special conditions.”

The other courtroom is mandated for those who refuse to collaborate with the peace accord’s commission and could face up to 20 years in prison.

Cuban negotiator Rodolfo Benitez emphasized that human right violations and war crimes like genocide, kidnappings, torture, forced displacements, extrajudicial executions, and sexual violence will not be granted amnesty.

Beside those crimes, once the conflict will be formally terminated, the Colombian government committed itself to vote a law granting the largest amnesty possible over political crimes.

A week ago, Colombia’s Supreme Court president suggested that his institution will not block lawmakers’ attempt to include amnesties and pardons into the law by ruling them “unconstitutional,” therefore supporting Santos’ position. Jose Leonidas Bustos said that drug trafficking could be defined as a “political crime,” “when it is used as a tool to economically support political ends in an armed conflict.”

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3. Members of the FARC rebel group will disarm: Members of the FARC rebel group will gain access to this special jurisdiction only once they will disarm, within a delay of maximum 60 days after the signature of the final peace agreement.

4. FARC will become a political party: The agreement also repeated the government’s support for converting the FARC into a political party. While the FARC insist in being recognized as a political party before they disarm.

5. Colombia will have a final peace agreement within six months: In a surprising announcement, President Santos said that the FARC and his administration agreed to reach such a final agreement and put an end to the negotiations within the six next months.

This consists in the fourth partial agreement reached since the beginning of the negotiations in 2012 in Havana, the three first being: the comprehensive land reform, political participation and the issue of illicit drugs.

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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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