In a historic meeting in Havana Wednesday, a partial agreement was reached over transitional justice and victims' reparations between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC head Timochenko.
1. A special system for truth, justice and reparations: FARC and Colombian state leaders agreed on a “Special Integral System of Truth, Justice and Reparations,” guaranteeing not to repeat the crimes of the past. The system will operate under the authority of the Colombian administration and includes the creation of a “Commission for Truth, Coexistence and No Repetition,” meant to serve the victims' interests.
2. The creation of special jurisdiction to indict perpetrators: This jurisdiction will be in charge of judging and sentencing perpetrators of crimes during the conflict. This system will concern all the conflict's actors – guerrilla members and state agents and even those funding the armed conflict like businessmen or industrialists who funded guerrilla or state combatants.
The jurisdiction will be composed of two courts, one dedicated to sentencing the perpetrators of crimes willing to collaborate with the peace accord. These perpetrators will be “effectively restricted of freedoms and rights,” but allowed alternatives to prison, like social work. If the crime they are being accused is considered “serious,” they will face between five to eight years of restrictions “in special conditions.”
The other court will be for those who refuse to collaborate with the peace accord’s commission, which could levy sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Cuban negotiator Rodolfo Benitez emphasized that human right violations and war crimes like genocide, kidnappings, torture, forced displacements, extrajudicial executions, and sexual violence will not be granted amnesty.
Other than those crimes, once the conflict is formally ended, the Colombian government committed itself to implementing a law granting the largest amnesty possible over political crimes.
A week ago, Colombia's Supreme Court president suggested that his institution will not block lawmakers' attempt to include amnesties and pardons into the law by ruling them “unconstitutional,” therefore supporting Santos' position. Jose Leonidas Bustos said that drug trafficking could be defined as a “political crime,” "when it is used as a tool to economically support political ends in an armed conflict."
3. Members of the FARC will disarm: Members of the FARC rebel group will gain access to this special jurisdiction only once they will disarm, within a maximum of 60 days after the signature of the final peace agreement.
4. The FARC will become a political party: The agreement also repeated the government's support for converting the FARC into a political party; the FARC insists on being recognized as a political party before they disarm.
5. Colombia will have a final peace agreement within six months: In a surprise announcement, President Santos said that the FARC and his administration agreed to reach a final agreement putting an end to the negotiations within the six next months.
This is the fourth partial agreement reached since the beginning of the negotiations in 2012. The first three were on comprehensive land reform, political participation and the issue of illicit drugs.