Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating approximately 100 thousand criminal charges made against the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group that is currently engaged in peace talks.
The crimes, some of which constitute violations of international humanitarian law, include forced displacement and the recruitment of child soldiers, among others.
The reported numbers involve over 38,000 alleged incidents that constitute such international violations, primarily for crimes involved children (abduction and recruitment). Of these incidents there are currently 11,269 actives cases against over 16,000 FARC members, along with 1,858 convictions.
These charges come after a historic agreement on transitional justice between the FARC and Colombia’s government during ongoing peace talks taking place in Cuba’s capital of Havana. In accordance with the policies agreed upon by both parties in the transitional justice deal, freedom will be granted to at least 1,600 guerrillas who’s crimes are not banned from impunity by the newly established Transitional Justice Court. The attorney general made clear that no amnesties or pardons will be delivered for international crimes or crimes against humanity.
Also in compliance with the new Havana agreements, a suspension of all pending charges against FARC leadership has been issued by the Prosecutor General’s office. The suspension decision was made in order to adjust existing judicial processes to the new transitional justice model agreed upon in Cuba and does not exonerate alleged perpetrators of their crimes.
According to prosecutor general Eduardo Montealegre, each case will now report to the new Special Court for Transitional Justice for a ruling, whose proceedings will include the involvement of both the Prosecutor General’s Office and victims related to the cases.
The hope of Colombia’s Prosecutor General is that the agreement signed in Cuba “will allow children born [in Colombia] to know the war in the history books and not in reality.”
The deal between the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC on justice is the latest of a series of partial agreements that will be part of an eventual peace deal.
The parties that have been at war with each other for more than 50 years have committed to finalizing the peace negotiations and sign a peace accord before March 23.