Following the signing of peace between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels, the chief government negotiator said the historic ceremony also marked “D-Day,” the day the FARC’s 180-day demobilization and disarmament begins.
In their peace agreement the government and the former guerrillas agreed to a strict timeline that should secure the FARC’s full demobilization and disarmament before March 26 next year.
The day also marks the coming into force of the UN observers mandate to monitor and verify the FARC and the government stick to the agreed demobilization and disarmament protocols.
Over the past few weeks, the UN have prepared 27 demobilization sites across the country where former FARC fighters and militia members will demobilize and hand in their approximately 20,000 weapons
On Tuesday, the government should give out concrete instructions to the military that will allow the mass displacement of FARC members to their demobilization areas, called ZVTN.
The big day will be Saturday when the FARC’s so-called “Tactical Units” present themselves at the ZVTN to present a list of guerrillas and arms that should be expected to arrive.
On the same day, the mass demobilization of troops and the transportation of arms to the ZVTN will take place in coordination with local civilian authorities and the UN.
Once all the FARC troops are located and registered, the government lifts the arrest warrants for all guerrillas on these lists so they can travel freely.
The arms will be kept in UN-controlled containers.
Between Monday (D+7) and October 27, the militia members, many of whom live with their families but also have arms stored, will demobilize and, again under supervision of the UN, make sure their arms are also transported safely to the ZVTN.
After October 27, all guerrilla fighters and militia members should be inside the ZVTN and the government should have all the necessary information on the location of minefields or explosives caches.
Between October 7 and November 26, the FARC and the military will carry out operations that seek to detonate explosives caches under the supervision of the UN.
Between Saturday and 26 December all FARC arms should be the surrendered to the UN. By December 26, the UN expects to have 30% of all FARC weapons, one month later 60% and on February 26 no weapons may be in the possession of former FARC members anymore.
In order to prevent a mass accumulation of arms, the United Nations will gradually remove the weapons from the containers in the FARC camps to undisclosed locations.
The arms will then be destroyed and converted into commemorative monuments.
The day the FARC won’t have arms in sight
On March 26, the entire demobilization and disarmament of the FARC should be over and the ZVTN camps will disappear.
By then, former FARC members will either have received amnesty or be charged for war crimes.