Colombia


    Colombia's FARC rebels need a leader
    12.09.17
    Fabio Andres Diaz

    Ever since Colombia signed its fragile, contested peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016, the big question has been: What will this no-longer-armed insurgency do next? On Aug. 28, the FARC made its official reply. In its first congress since disarmament, the Marxist guerrilla group unveiled Colombia’s newest political party: the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, or Commoners’ Alternative Revolutionary Force. “The new party will be built with many voices and diverse ideas,” announced Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the FARC’s top...

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    Chiquita “contributed” to Colombian paramilitary crimes, ICC told
    18.05.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Human rights organizations are asking the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to include managers of Chiquita Brands International Inc. in her preliminary examination on Colombia. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard University and Colombian NGO Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo  (CAJAR) accuse the multinational of having “contributed” to crimes against humanity committed by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary group. They say that from 1997 to 2004, the world leading...

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    Colombia to set up special war crimes courts
    14.03.17
    AFP

    Colombia's senate late Monday approved a constitutional reform to set up special war crimes courts, a key component of the historic peace agreement with FARC guerrillas that ended five decades of war. The court system will be made up of three sections: a truth commission, a unit to search for missing people, and a temporary, autonomous body to try crimes committed during the armed conflict before December 1, 2016. Establishing the courts was the backbone of the peace deal Bogota reached in November with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels. President Juan Manuel Santos...

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    Scars haunt Colombian rebels as they disarm
    05.01.17
    Raul ARBOLEDA / Diego ESCUDERO (AFP)

    Jair's missing right leg reminds him of many things: the heavy price he paid for fighting in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the pain he inflicted on others. The 25-year-old guerrilla came of age in the FARC, which he believed was fighting to create a more just Colombia. Now, the Marxist rebels are gathering in disarmament camps after reaching a peace deal to end the half-century conflict. Preparing to disarm has given Jair a chance to think about how the violence has shaped his life. Six years ago, he was pursuing an enemy soldier in the country's northwest when he...

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    Lawmakers in Colombia pass FARC amnesty law
    29.12.16
    AFP

    Colombia's Congress on Wednesday passed a law granting amnesty to Marxist FARC rebels as part of the country's peace deal, a development the government hailed as "historic." "Thanks to the Congress which in a historic vote approved the amnesty law, first step toward consolidating peace," President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter. The measure grants special legal treatment, amnesty and pardons to members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) accused of political and related crimes. The Senate passed the bill 69-0, after the House of Representatives approved it...

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    Week in Review: A difficult path to truth and remembrance
    05.12.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    This week showed some of the different faces of transitional justice. In Colombia, a new peace accord was finally ratified, whilst Tunisia continued public hearings of former regime victims, and debate continued in Rwanda over the role of the Catholic Church in the 1994 genocide. After signing the Colombian peace accord, President Juan Manuel Santos and the main rebel movement FARC now have six months to implement it. Justice and impunity are central issues in the process.  “The revised accord details the way transitional justice is to work,” explains JusticeInfo’s Bogota correspondent...

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    Peace and justice for Colombia?
    29.11.16
    Christine Renaudat, correspondent in Bogota,

    In Colombia, FARC rebels and the government last week signed a revised peace deal to end half a decade of civil war. But the opposition says changes are only cosmetic, and it is not clear how justice will be applied to certain sections of the army. “Unanimity is not possible”, chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle had already warned. The peace agreement, narrowly rejected by voters on October 2 and signed in revised form on November 24, continues to divide Colombians. After studying its 310 pages, the opposition gave its verdict. The changes, according to opposition leader and...

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    What prospects for peace in Colombia after the referendum?
    01.11.16
    Julia Crawford, Justice Info

    The world was expecting an end to half a century of conflict in Colombia, but on October 2 the Colombian people voted “no” to a peace accord signed on September 26 by President Juan Manual Santos and the leader of the Marxist Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). Colombian jurist Maria Teresa Garrido, who now lives in Switzerland, thinks there is still hope for peace, given the expressed determination of the peace signatories and the fact that the accord was rejected by only a narrow margin (50.2% against and 49.8% in favour). The agreement provides for transitional justice...

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    Colombia peace justice

    Derek Congram joins Justice in Conflict, as our symposium on peace and justice in Colombia after the referendum continues. Derek is an anthropologist and archaeologist based at the Munk School of Global Affairs. He specializes in medico-legal, human rights, and humanitarian investigations and has worked at United Nations, International Criminal Court, International Committee of the Red Cross, among others. In the run-up to the Colombian plebiscite on the peace deal between the government and the FARC, Ian Vásquez, of the CATO Institute published an opinion piece in a number of Latin...

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    The Way Forward: What the ‘No’ Vote Means for Peace in Colombia
    12.10.16
    Mark Kersten

    Sophie Haspeslagh joins JiC for this first installment in our symposium on Peace and Justice in Colombia. Sophie is conducting research the engagement of armed groups and the effects of proscription on peace processes at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has been working on Colombia as a researcher and peace practitioner for over a decade with the International Crisis Group, ABColombia and Conciliation Resources. Sophie has previously published at JiC on the importance of finding balance on transitional justice in Colombia.  On October 2nd, the peace deal in Colombia...

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    Week in Review: A Nobel for fragile Colombian peace, crimes in Syria and Burundi
    10.10.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Highlight of the transitional justice week was the Nobel Peace Prize awarded on Friday  to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, five days after a referendum in Colombia which was supposed to seal a peace deal between the government and the FARC rebel movement, ending 50 years of civil war. The Nobel committee, which is used to supporting fragile peace processes, gave it prestigious prize to the Head of State but also the people of Colombia, notably the victims of this deadly conflict. On the other hand, the committee deliberately decided not to give the prize also to the FARC and its...

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    Colombian President wins surprise Peace Nobel
    07.10.16
    Hazel WARD, AFP

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Prize Friday for his "resolute" efforts to end five decades of war in his country, despite voters' shock rejection of a historic peace deal.The award was unexpected after voters rejected the accord Santos signed last month with FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, alias Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez, with some observers expressing surprise the rebel chief did not jointly receive the prize.But the FARC chief congratulated his former enemy and said the only prize the Marxist guerrillas wanted was "peace with social justice for Colombia.. peace in...

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    Colombia did not vote 'no' in its peace referendum – what the statistics reveal
    05.10.16
    Michael Spagat, Royal Holloway and Neil Johnson, University of Miami

    The official line is that the “no” vote won the referendum in Colombia. The internationally lauded peace treaty with the FARC guerillas was rejected, and now nobody knows what the country’s fate will be. But did “no” actually win? The numbers divide four ways, rather than just two “no” and “yes” answers: 6,431,376 against the treaty, 6,377,482 in favour, 86,243 unmarked ballots, and 170,946 nullified ballots. The referendum process itself was without doubt transparent and fair, and Colombia can be truly proud of it. But there were nonetheless several inevitable sources of statistical error in the counting process that could have swamped the razor-thin victory margin of 53,894. This...

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    Why did Colombia’s Plebiscite for Peace Fail?

    Following a plebiscite that rejected by a hair the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP that was just signed in Cartagena on September 26, there is much soul-searching, self-critique, and reflection among those of us who worked so hard in the last four years for a political solution that would put an end to so many years of war in Colombia.   More on this later.  For now, I have found some solace in the reminder from Mercedes Sosa that change is a constant. “Todo Cambia”   I am working on a longer piece that looks at the roller coaster many of us have been on in recent weeks.  In the meantime though I wanted to share with my readers some of my initial...

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    Why the Colombians said no to the peace agreement
    03.10.16
    Jordi MIRO Rodrigo ALMONACID, AFP

      Colombians say they are sick of their country's 52-year civil war. So why did a thin majority of voters reject their biggest chance yet for peace? Forecasts ahead of Sunday's surprise referendum result misjudged how divided Colombians are over how to settle the conflict with the FARC rebels. "I voted 'Yes' to peace by voting 'No' to the accord," said Carlos Gonzalez, a 19-year-old student. Here are four things Colombians said 'No' to.   - No to 'impunity' -   Colombian authorities estimate the conflict has left 260,000 people dead, 45,000 missing and nearly seven million...

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    Shakira joins Colombian stars supporting FARC peace deal
    01.10.16
    AFP

    Some of Colombia's most famous artists, athletes and writers, from singer Shakira to soccer star Falcao, are lending their support to the peace accord with Marxist rebels that aims to end a half-century of war. Shakira, along with Juanes and Carlos Vives -- two Colombian musicians popular across the Spanish-speaking world -- sang stirring messages of reconciliation, forgiveness and love after President Juan Manuel Santos signed the peace pact Monday with the head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londono. "As Colombians, our most important mission now is to...

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    Colombia, FARC rebels sign historic peace deal
    27.09.16
    AFP

    Colombia's leftist FARC rebel force signed a historic peace accord with the government Monday and apologized to the countless victims of the country's half-century civil war. In an emotional open-air ceremony, President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the communist rebels into the political sphere after signing the accord with FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, alias Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez. Dressed in white, the former mortal enemies signed and shook hands, smiling before an audience of international dignitaries, drawing loud cheers. The ceremony in the Caribbean coast city of Cartagena...

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    Colombian, FARC leaders to sign historic peace deal
    26.09.16
    AFP

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC rebels, Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez, are due to sign a historic peace deal Monday to end a five-decade war. The former enemies will sign the accord at 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) at a ceremony in the colorful colonial city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, the government said. Santos will open the day's events with a tribute to the Colombian military and police at 8:00 am, followed by a prayer for peace and reconciliation at an 18th-century Catholic church in Cartagena's old town. The guests will include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and an array of Latin American leaders -- notably...

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    Santos confident Colombians will say 'yes' to peace
    06.09.16
    AFP

    Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says he is certain his government's peace deal with FARC rebels will be approved in an October 2 referendum because "an imperfect peace is always preferable to a perfect war." "The 'no' won't win. The 'yes' camp will win. I'm completely sure of that and I am not worried about what some call Plan B. I'm absolutely convinced," he said in an interview with AFP on Monday. Santos said he had not been obliged to put the agreement ending the 52-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to a referendum. "But a referendum is a...

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    ICC welcomes Colombia peace deal, urges prosecutions
    01.09.16
    AFP

    The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Thursday welcomed Colombia's peace deal with FARC rebels, but called for "genuine" prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against humanity and war crimes. "The peace agreement acknowledges the central place for victims in the process and their legitimate aspirations for justice," Fatou Bensouda said. "These aspirations must be fully addressed, including by ensuring that the perpetrators of serious crimes are genuinely brought to justice," Bensouda said in a statement, issued from the ICC's headquarters in The Hague. Former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in 2006 opened a preliminary probe into Colombia's violent struggle between...

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