Anticipating the possible demobilization of some 10,000 FARC fighters, Colombia’s congress on Wednesday earmarked extra funds for the country’s already clogged Prosecutor General’s Office.
Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre had requested a reform and the extra money to improve his institution’s infrastructure in case the government and FARC successfully end ongoing peace talks.
Additionally, the approved bill allows the national government to exercise more influence over the country’s prosecution offices and is part of a broader “Framework for Peace” that dictates the legal boundaries for demobilizing illegal armed groups.
“We need a better infrastructure to attend an eventual process of demobilization and peace with the FARC. One of the weak elements with the paramilitaries [whose organization demobilized 27,000 people between 2003 and 2006] was that a big theoretic framework was constructed, but failed to prepare the infrastructure of the Prosecutor General’s Office to take up the big challenge of the demobilization,” Montealegre said ahead of the vote.
The demobilization of paramilitary organization AUC has been fiercely criticized because it failed to prosecute members of the paramilitary organization who were found guilty of human rights violations and effectively granted impunity to most former members of that organization.
Critics of the peace process with the FARC, led by former President Alvaro Uribe under whose administration the AUC was demobilized, have expressed fear that the FARC will be granted amnesty or impunity in return for ending the leftist organization’s 50-year war against the state.