Colombia’s transitional justice system that would prosecute the tens of thousands of war crimes committed during the country’s 52-year armed conflict needs at least six months to be set up, the senate president said Wednesday.
This means that the Transitional Justice Tribunal and the Truth Commission will not be in place until after the demobilization and disarmament of the FARC which is scheduled to take six months after “D-Day,” the day the revised peace deal with the FARC take effect.
This deal had already taken force on September 26, but was struck down by Colombia’s voters with a razor-sharp margin in an October 2 referendum.
According to Senate President Mauricio Lizcano, the previously agreed “fast track” ratification of the peace process and amendments of the law by Congress agreed in the deal is now off the table.
The government on Saturday announced a revised peace deal, which it said required congressional ratification “now” to at least continue the demobilization and disarmament of the FARC that was shockingly suspended just when the guerrillas and the United Nations observation force were making the final preparations.
To prevent attacks from rival groups and the mass desertion of FARC guerrillas to smaller illegal armed groups, the UN, the military and the FARC have since agreed to shelter the fighters in pre-grouping areas.
Both the government and a congressional majority want to ratify at least an amnesty bill that would allow the guerrillas to begin their demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process before Christmas recess.
The opposition to the deal, led by former President Alvaro Uribe has opposed a quick resumption of the process, claiming it needs more time to adequately read the revisions it didn’t receive util late Sunday evening.
Peace talks with the FARC began in secret in 2011, almost 50 years after the formation of the Marxist group. The initial peace deal was announced in August.
The transitional justice system will review amnesty requests of the FARC’s approximately 6,600 guerrilla fighters and 10,000 militia members, process 24,400 state officials either sentenced or formally accused of war crimes and an additional 12,500 private persons and enterprises accused of financially supporting one of the illegal armed groups active in the conflict.