The FARC is an organization that has been fighting against the Colombian government since 1964.They have been involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and other terrorist activities, but now members of the FARC have stated that they are ready for peace. At the center of the peace agreements are reparations for the victims on both sides. This is some of the biggest news that has come because part of the deal includes the demilitarization of the FARC group.
While this is a step forward, the agreement is only partially done, and it will not be considered completely done until all parts of the agreement are taken care of. (1) There are still three more steps to finish the accords. “Implementation, Verification and Endorsement,and observers expect the talks to move quickly.”(1)
“The armed conflict, which has multiple causes, has led to suffering and endangerment of the population unequaled in our history.” The agreement will serve “transitional” (or “restorative“) justice. A “comprehensive system” providing “truth, justice, reparations, and non-repetition” will “make amends to victims and honor their human rights.” Unlike other attempted Colombian peace settlements, this one offers no general amnesty.The “comprehensive system” includes a “commission for elucidation of truth,” a unit for finding disappeared persons and, crucially, a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace.” This autonomous court will include a “Chamber of Amnesty and Pardon” and a “Tribunal for Peace.” The latter will “investigate, clarify, prosecute, and punish serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”(1)
The government has recognized that there are victims are both sides of the conflict. Part of the agreements ensure that there is no complete amnesty for either side. Everyone must acknowledge their actions during the conflict The victims will be taken care of by their offenders by admitting what they’ve done and providing reparations for their actions. Many have expressed concerns saying that The FARC and government would be getting off way too easy by only having to pay money and admit what they did is wrong. Victims and their families have been saying that there should be more punishment for the actions, including jail time. It would be difficult to bring peace talks to the table though, with a lot of jail time being part of the agreement for someone who admits willingly their actions. The combatants will receive amnesty for their actions, but any war crimes or crimes against humanity will not receive amnesty, and there will be trials.If they are convicted though they will not be sent to normal jails, they would probably just be under house arrest for some time, and “Those who confess past a certain deadline or refuse to admit their crimes altogether will go to prison for up to 20 years.(2) They are strongly encouraging those who have done wrong to get it out in the open now so that the country can move on and put the conflict behind them. Those who have admitted to crimes or been found guilty on both sides will be responsible for helping to rebuild what they have destroyed.
The agreement includes compensation for the victims, organizing a truth commission, creating a search and rescue unit for those that have been lost due to the conflict, and victims to have protection from any further acts of aggression.(2) Part of the concern that is still up in the air is what will happen to the land that has been taking over by opposite groups. Scores of people have been displaced by this conflict and they want to go home.
The news of this agreement is also good for Ecuador. They share a border with Colombia and need to have ten times as much security at the border to ensure safety from the conflict boiling over and keeping that conflict out of Ecuador.(3) There has been a lot of international involvement to facilitate this agreement, the peace talks have been going on for 3 years, and they have taken place in Havana, Cuba with support from other nations as well.
What is next for Colombia?
“The last point in the agenda to finalize the peace agreement is to establish a bilateral ceasefire and the details of the FARC’s demobilization, disarmament and reintegration into Colombian society. Both side have agreed to sign a final peace deal by the end of March.”(4)
It has been said that the justice part of the this agreement has been the most complicated and hardest part, but the ceasefire will help there to be a true sign of the fight ending. The five decade long conflict conclusion is being met by both criticism and hope, but things are changing in Colombia.