The FARC guerrilla group has insisted on “radical” changes and judicial reform as a basis for its ongoing peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba, the group announced on Wednesday.
In a statement released through the group’s website on Wednesday, the FARC’s negotiating team in Havana called for “radical” changes, which “lead to democratic restructuring of the state and political reform.”
“We advocate for the recognition and promotion of social and popular participation in its various forms….strengthening the decentralization process towards greater local democracy; the redesign of the legal-constitutional economic order; [and the] conversion of military forces into a force for peace building,” the statement from Colombia’s largest rebel group read.
The FARC’s comments fall in line with a series of preliminary proposals that the guerrilla organization made in June 2013, regarding political participation in a post-conflict scenario and the restructuring of Colombia’s legal system.
The rebel group, whose calls for judicial reform were allegedly made in response to a “national outcry”, has been engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government since November 2012.
The most recent calls by the FARC come a two days after the group announced that it will create its own political party if ongoing peace talks with the country’s government are successful.
In Wednesday’s statement, the rebels also lauded recent comments made by Colombia’s Minister of Justice and Law, Alfonso Gomez Mendez, who spoke about the possibility of reforming the judiciary branch and creating a National Constituent Assembly.
“Reform implies profound, radical changes, and we therefore sympathize with the comments of Alfonso Gomez Mendez, when he spoke in favorable terms of restructuring the judicial branch and the possibility of creating a National Constituent Assembly,” said the statement.
The main focus of the FARC’s recent criticism is Colombia’s judiciary branch, which the groups refers to as the “main source of patronage and corruption.”
“Reform would liberate [the judiciary] from its scandalous politicization, and would make it an indispensable pre-requisite for peace.”
The peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC are currently in their 24th round. Their current discussions seek to reach an agreement on the subject of illicit drugs, which constitute the FARC’s primary source of funding.
The plan is to announce an accord on illicit drugs before Colombia’s presidential elections on May 25, according to radio station Caracol Radio.
After concluding this point ideally before the end of May, the negotiators look to again postpone discussions on demobilization by the guerrillas, and move on to the topic of victims of the country’s 50-year armed conflict.
The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since its formation in 1964 in what has become the oldest internal armed conflict in the world. An estimated six-million Colombians are direct victims of the fighting between rebels, the Colombian military and state-aligned paramilitary groups.
Three previous attempts at peace talks between the government and rebels failed, but the Cuba talks have gone uninterrupted since their inception, despite continued hostilities between rebel and public security forces in Colombia.
Despite the peace negotiations, a formal cease-fire has not been declared.
- Reforma a la justicia es una necesidad (FARC-EP)
- A doble jornada trabajan negociadores de paz en Cuba (Caracol Radio)
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