Colombia Reports

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Colombia’s inspector general on Thursday slammed a recently announced transitional justice deal with FARC rebels. According to the top official, the judicial benefits for guerrillas will allow the International Criminal Court to step in.

The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC have been holding peace talks since November 2012 and earlier this week announced a deal on victims that includes a transitional justice agreement.

Colombia’s peace deals in depth: Victims

This agreement prevents guerrillas and members of the military who are convicted of war crimes but have actively collaborated with justice from going to prison. Instead, they will be condemned to a yet undefined “restriction of freedoms and rights.”

According to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, the level of leniency “does not favor the victims or justice, but the victimizers and impunity.”

Ordoñez, a staunch conservative and critic of the peace talks, said that the government “ended up surrendering to [the FARC’s] demands.”

Guerrillas, members of the military and civilians found guilty, nor those ultimately responsible for the tens of thousands of war crimes committed in the 51-year-long conflict “will not spend one single day in detention. They will be punished with … community work.”

The fact that no war criminal or commander responsible for war crimes committed under their watch faces prison “will activate the competence of the International Court” that has the authority to assume control of criminal investigations of war crimes in case a member state is unable or unwilling to adequately prosecute and punish war crimes.

The Inspector General echoed criticism that the victims deal fails to mention what will happen with FARC resources obtained by illegal activity like drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining.

A victim’s doubts about Colombia’s victims deal

The FARC began as a tiny peasant guerrilla group in 1964, but was able to grow to become one of Latin America’s largest guerrilla forces in modern history. The group financed its attempted Marxist revolution through drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining.

The rebels and Santos announced in September that a final peace deal would be agreed on before March 23 next year after which its members will disarm, demobilize and be reintegrated into Colombian society and the hemisphere’s longest-running armed conflict comes to an end.

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