Colombia’s government is trying to convince former President Alvaro Uribe to stop resisting ongoing peace talks with one of the country’s politics’ exotic political tools: A judicial trade-off.
Uribe is the only prominent politician in Colombia who refuses to accept the fact that the country is inching closer and closer to a long-awaited end to a seemingly endless armed conflict.
He and his predecessor have become political enemies since handing over power in 2010 over the ongoing prosecution and incarceration of corrupt politicians, mainly allies of Uribe, and the peace talks.
The former president, whose father was killed by the guerrillas and who has widely been credited for the rebels’ territorial demise in the first decade of the century, has long rejected the talks and concessions made in them.
However, while the entire Congress aligned to support Santos’ peace initiatives and criminal investigations mounted, Uribe’s party found itself politically isolated and unable to demand attention for any of his voters’ concerns.
To convince him to stop his resistance and join a “National Pact of Peace” signed by all other political parties, former minister Alvaro Leyva (Conservative Party), said it would be a good idea to negotiate a trade-off wherein Uribe-aligned politicians in prison could benefit from transitional justice,also when their crimes are not related to the conflict.
Uribe initially rejected the legitimacy of the talks, claiming that his successor was “surrendering the country to terrorism.” According to Uribe and his party, the right-wing Democratic Center, Santos is too generous considering the military weakness of the FARC.
Uribe’s resistance can count on considerable support from a minority of Colombia’s electorate, for whom concessions made for the benefit of peace are undue and too painful, considering that the FARC killed, kidnapped, extorted and disappeared many thousands of Colombians.
However, Uribe has an additional problem, which is that under his watch thousands of war crimes were committed by members of the military. Additionally, he has been linked to a massacre and his 2002 election campaign received financial and logistic support of paramilitary death squads.
These hot potatoes could potentially result in a conviction and the political death of the politician if peace is signed and both a truth tribunal and a transitional justice tribunal are put in place.
Ironically, this would happen in the post-conflict period that will see the inclusion of the FARC, considered a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union to politics.