Colombia lost more than 700 former FARC rebels

(Image: Alto Comisionado para la Paz)

Colombia’s government and war crimes tribunal are going to investigate what to do with 724 ex-guerrillas who were registered as FARC members, but allegedly never appeared.

According to Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos, “724 people, despite having been included by the FARC in their lists, never appeared to sign the commitments or identify themselves to obtain the benefits of the [war crimes tribunal] JEP.”

Ceballos initially requested the JEP to verify what had happened with these former guerrillas, but was reminded by court president Patricia Linares that it is the job of the Peace Commissioner’s Office’s to maintain the administration of demobilized FARC guerrillas who take part in the peace process.

The peace commissioner said the JEP did agree to assist in investigating which of the missing FARC members are unlikely to ever show up and be expelled from the peace process.

“We have agreed with the JEP to create technical working groups to study the cases of these 724 people and others who should or should not be excluded from the lists.”

The FARC registered more than 13,000 members to take part in a demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process after signing a peace deal with former President Juan Manuel Santos in late 2016.

The UN said in March that the peace commissioner reported “no development” in regards to the accreditation of people reported as members of the FARC’s former guerrilla army.

Against the agreement that allowed former guerrillas to be released and submitted to the transitional justice system, 164 FARC members remained in prison while they should have been released, the observers said.

Former guerrillas and militia members would be allowed access to reintegration programs and enjoy judicial benefits if they cooperated with the JEP to provide justice to their victims.

The administration of President Ivan Duque has only reluctantly cooperated with the UN and the transitional justice system as the president’s far-right party fiercely opposes the peace process.

It is unclear whether the missing FARC members have discarded the peace process or have joined one of a few dozen dissident guerrilla factions that formed during the process.

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