Santrich was summoned to the court on Tuesday to defend himself against a vague US drug trafficking charge, but disappeared late last month.
After he failed to appear at the hearing and the Supreme court ordered his arrest, and the FARC was quick to take distance from its former ideologue who allegedly fled to Venezuela amid rumors of a plot to assassinate or illegally extradite him.
In a press release, the former guerrillas’political party said that the country’s justice system “ended up recognizing his rights as a citizen and reintegrating former combatant, providing him with all the guarantees for his freedom and defense.”
His failure to be present at the hearing called for today contradicts his own word, and defrauds the confidence of the country and our party.
The former guerrillas reiterated that “this behavior is solely his responsibility that, like other personal decisions, were not consulted with the political party FARC or its directorate.”
The press release is a clear signal to demobilized guerrillas that the FARC’s leadership will not take any responsibility for demobilized rebels who break away from the peace agreement.
“We have learned from our founders to live up to our word,” the FARC said.
“We fully trust that the country, the international community and the justice system is able to differentiate between the choices of individuals and groups who ignore what has been agreed” in the 2016 peace deal and the “overwhelming majority of our party FARC, who remain true and committed” to the country’s peace process, the demobilized rebels’ leadership said.
The disappearance of Santrich, who was sworn in as congressman just weeks before he went missing, is the latest major blow to the peace process and to the FARC.
Santrich is one of 10 former top and mid-level commanders who have gone off the grid since the beginning of the peace process.
The military reportedly believes that dissident groups have swollen to some 2,300 members.
But the government has confirmed that the vast majority of former guerrillas continue to take part in the peace process that seeks to end a conflict of more than half a century.