Historic day for Colombia

By bogotapost September 23, 2015
Colombian Peace Process

Raul Castro, centre, joining a historic handshake between President Santos and FARC leader Timochenko, right.

Take a look at the details of the historic agreement reached by  negotiators in Havana today. The accord not only covers the topic of transitional justice, including penalties that will be given to those guilty of crimes committed during internal conflict, but also commits to transforming the FARC into a legal political movement.

In a meeting overseen by Cuban President Raúl Castro, President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leader, Timoleón Jimenéz (alias Timochenko), signed the agreement on justice and promised peace by March 2016.

A summary of the 10-point-agreement is below:

1)   Re-affirm commitment to the agreements made to date

2)   Creation of a Comisión para el Esclarecimiento de la Verdad, la Convivencia y la No Repetición – a truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition commission. The accord stresses their commitment to a form of justice that will satisfy the rights of victims of Colombia’s armed conflict, while building lasting peace.

3)   Agreed to create a ‘Special Jurisdiction’ (Jurisdiccion Especial para la Paz), made up of a courthouse and a tribunal.  The main function of the new jurisdiction will be to prosecute those responsible for serious crimes and to contribute to the reparation for victims. It will be made up mainly of Colombian judges, along with a small number of foreigners who meet ‘the highest’ requirements.

4)   Upon the termination of hostilities, the transitional justice allows for a possible amnesty for political and related crimes. Amnesty will not apply in cases of crimes against humanity, genocide and serious war crimes, which will be investigated and judged under the ‘Special Jurisdiction’.

5)   The ‘Special Jurisdiction’ will deal with all crimes directly or indirectly related to the armed conflict, including both members of FARC and state agencies.

6)   There will be two types of trial, one for those who recognise their responsibility and participate in the various investigations, and another for those who do not or who do not participate within a given time frame.

7)   The penalties will involve a restriction of freedom, as well as a component of community service and other activities to offer reparation to the victims:

  • Those who recognise their crimes will receive a sentence of five to eight years of ‘restricted freedom’ under special conditions.
  • Those who recognise their crimes late will be sentenced to five to eight years in prison under ordinary conditions, with the possibility of receiving special conditions through social rehabilitation.
  • Those who fail to recognise their responsibility will be punished with up to 20 years in prison, under ordinary conditions.

8) Special treatment can only be given to those who provide full truth, offer reparation to the victims and guarantee non-repetition.

9) The special treatment for FARC members is conditional on a surrender of weapons, which should take place no more than 60 days after the signing of a final peace agreement.

10) Transforming FARC into a legal political movement is a shared goal, which will have the full support of the Colombian government.

How might this historic peace agreement affect business in Colombia? Find out more here.