Colombia’s Attorney General has admitted prosecutors do not currently have the logistical ability to handle the demobilization of the FARC, raising further questions as to what will become of guerrilla fighters if the current peace talks are successful.
Speaking at a Senate debate, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre admitted his office did not have the capacity to investigate and prosecute the thousands of fighters that will demobilize if peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are successful, the AFP reported.
Montealegre called on the government to “create an infrastructure of officials, investigation methods, a grand organization to manage the investigation, accusation and trials of nearly 10,000 guerrilla members.”
His comments came as the US State Department published its annual terrorism report, which said guerrilla attacks had increased in 2012, despite the start of peace talks in October.
While much of the focus on the potential demobilization of the FARC has been on how to “reinsert” guerrillas into society and the possibility of the group criminalizing, Montealegre has drawn attention to another area key to the process’ success.
The Colombian government has drawn up a controversial “Framework for Peace,” which aims to establish a transitional justice legal framework for handling a demobilization. However, unless the logistical infrastructure is in place to implement the law, it is likely to be of little practical use.
As Montealegre pointed out in his speech, Colombia has been here before with the demobilization of the AUC paramilitaries. Prosecutors were overwhelmed by the size of the task, leaving the transitional justice aspect of the process little more than what Montealegre called a “grand theoretical framework.”
The results of this were shambolic attempts at bringing demobilized paramilitaries to justice, which led to many mid-level and rank-and-file fighters quickly disappearing back into the criminal underworld. Fear are that rebels woudl drift back into criminal activities if the same thing happened with a FARC peace agreement.