International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Colombian Peace Deal: Truly Victim Centric?

Monday evening, September 26th Farc leader, Rodrigo Londono (aka. Timochenko) apologized to victims of the armed conflict in Colombia during the signing of the new peace deal. The history of the conflict in Colombia stems from the Cold War. The major players involved in signing the peace deal were the Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) – the predominant rebel guerrilla group in the country – and the Colombian government. The group has existed since 1964 and represents the armed wing of the Communist party. Their primary technique in war has been guerrilla warfare in rural areas.

2012 initiated the start of public peace talks in Havana which have culminated in the peace deal established yesterday evening. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended the very ceremonious occasion. All dignitaries in attendance were dressed in white to symbolize peace. A pen constructed from a bullet was used to further exemplify the aspirations for peace behind the deal. Timochenko assured Colombia and the world that his group would be hanging up their guns for good and even asked for forgiveness in his apology to the victims of his crimes. Serious questions remain about the practicality of a new peace in democracy without holding the perpetrators legally accountable.screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-2-19-32-pm

The deal prescribes political party status for the Farc meaning that the now former rebel group will take part in the 2018 legislative elections. In accordance with the deal, the group will be afforded a minimum of ten seats in the legislature for the first two Congressional sessions. There exists a faction within Colombia that remain distrustful of the Farc and are angry that members of the rebel force will be allowed to participate in Congress without first serving jail time for their crimes.

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In an interview with BBC President Manuel Santos notes that the peace process has been centered around the needs of the eight million victims created by the 50 year war. The interviewer notes that two former Colombian presidents denounce the deal as “virtual amnesty”. Santos insists that impunity does not exist. He continues that the process has involved truth and reparations on an unprecedented scale to work to amend the wrongdoing. Santos describes the mentality of the negotiations on his part which insisted on “maximum justice that will allow us peace” (Santos, 2016). The next phase will be the most difficult in terms of reconstructing the culture, values, and social network of Colombia. Santos admits that the process will not be easy and may take many years; however, he appears optimistic for the countries future and proud of the restorative work his government has initiated. 

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2 responses to “Colombian Peace Deal: Truly Victim Centric?

  1. bethanyparisi September 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

    In the year 1964, began the civil war in Columbia. Considering this, I think that it is amazing that Columbia signed this peace treaty, to end this fifty years of civil war. Now, for the first time in a very long time, the whole western hemisphere is in a war-free time. It says that the treaty is about the victims and helping them, I just hope that they really do, do that. I like the that they have brought up a truth commission. This will definitely help the victims get peace and even help them come together. Overall, I think that this treaty will definitely do good for Columbia and its people.

  2. ellesnyder October 4, 2016 at 11:33 am

    While this peace deal represented a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel for Colombia and for President Juan Manuel Santos, the referendum failed. In a shocking turn around 50.2% voted to reject the agreement while 49.8% voted in favor of the agreement. Many voted against the peace deal because they felt that the agreement gave the offenders a cushy slap on the wrist with no real consequences. Many citizens were upset that those who confessed would face no traditional prison time. A further grievance of the “no camp” was that the government had promised to pay ex-FARC rebels a monthly stipend in order to support those wanting to get a business off the ground. Additionally, a number of voters simply did not trust the rebels to maintain the ceasefire. President Santos stated prior to the referendum that essentially there was no plan-B. Negotiations would have to be set back many years in order to reinvent the peace deal; still he felt confident the deal would prevail. Now, the parties must begin again. Fortunately, Santos stated that the ceasefire would remain in place. The FARC leader, Timochenko affirmed his commitment to holding the ceasefire for the time being.
    Former President Alvaro Uribe led the “no camp” and addressed further demands this group maintains before a peace deal can be reached. He requested involvement in the negotiations himself. He demands that those found guilty be banned from public service, that those found guilty within the FARC group serve punitive prison sentences, reparations be paid to victims families from the illegally obtained funds FARC accumulated. Finally Mr. Uribe insists that the Colombian constitution remain as is. Many were shocked and disappointed by the results.

    See: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37537252 for videos and additional information

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