Colombia’s FARC One Step Closer to Final Disarmament

nsnbc : The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) have made a significant step toward the final disarmament of the largest leftist guerrilla.

Ivan Marques and other negotiators address troops and the people in La Guajira province earlier this year.  Photo courtesy FARC-EP

Ivan Marques and other negotiators address troops and the people in La Guajira province earlier this year.
Photo courtesy FARC-EP

Negotiators of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP followed up on the ceasefire agreement that came into effect in January by agreeing to finally and permanently end almost 52 years of armed hostilities.

Simultaneously, the parties are engaged in working out the details of the disarmament of the FARC-EP under international supervision. Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP have been ongoing in the Cuban capital Havana since 2012.

The agreement is expected to be signed on Tuesday in Havana, in the presence of international dignitaries. Among those who will attend is UN Secretary-General Ban Kyi-moon, as well as the presidents of five Latin American countries. The ceremony will also be attended by Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and the top-leadership of the FARC-EP.

The signing of the agreement is also regarded as a major step towards the transformation of the FARC-EP into a non-militant political organization that will legally participate in the political discourse of Colombia.

Part of the peace agreements that have been reached thus far stipulate that several thousand FARC members as well as some 24,000 State officials submit themselves to a process of transitional justice, not unlike to the model that was implemented in South Africa after the end of the Apartheid regime there.

The transitional justice process will aim, to the widest possible degree, at openness and transparency about atrocities committed by all parties, forgiveness with the exception of the most severe crimes, compensation for those who have suffered harm, dispossession and injustice, and assurances about non-repetition.

The more than five decades-long civil war in Colombia has claimed the lives of at least 265,000 Colombians and displaced another, estimated seven million. Official peace talks between the government and the second-largest leftist guerrilla, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

ELN_ColombiaThe official talks were scheduled to begin last month but have been delayed because of an impasse over the government’s demand that the ELN “release its hostages” before the talks.

The ELN, for its part, stresses that this has not been a precondition that was mentioned in the agreement that was signed by the parties and stresses, moreover, the unresolved status of ELN prisoners in Colombian prisons.

A source close to the ELN informed nsnbc that back-channel talks to resolve the impasse are ongoing. The peace agreement between the ELN and the government will largely follow, and to some degree be held parallel to the talks between the government and the FARC-EP.

It is important to note that the government, the FARC-EP, the ELN, as well as international parties including the UN, the United States, Cuba, as well as Colombian NGOs agree that the greatest threat to peace and security in Colombia today emerges from criminal cartels, drug traffickers, as well as successors of the ultra-right-wing AUC, or so-called neo-paramilitaries which the government prefers to designate as bare criminals.

Colombian NGOs warned repeatedly that the disarmament of the FARC-EP and the ELN put large segments of Colombia’s population at risk because neo-paramilitaries are likely to attempt to take advantage of the power and security vacuum.

CH/L – nsnbc 24.06.2016

Source Article from http://nsnbc.me/2016/06/24/colombias-farc-one-step-closer-to-final-disarmament/

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