Colombia’s House of Representatives will try to repeat a vote on a transitional war crimes tribunal on Tuesday after a previous vote was nullified because too few congressmen had shown up.
However, Santos subsequently returned the bill because too few House Representatives had taken part in a previous vote.
Not even half of the lower chamber showed up to vote on the transitional justice system that should seek justice for the 8 million victims caused by the conflict last Wednesday.
The vote was boycotted by Colombia’s conservative opposition, which has 19 of the 166 seats in the lower house. The main impediment was Santos’ own majority coalition, many of whose members simply failed to show up.
The alleged reasons couldn’t be more cynical.
According to newspaper El Espectador, anonymous congressmen have said that the government has simply failed to adequately funnel slush funds or grant political positions, or “marmalade,” to the lawmakers who are expecting elections in March next year.
By refusing to show up at crucial voting rounds, the lawmakers are allegedly trying to pressure the government to increase the marmalade going either to their district or campaign.
Additionally, there is unrest the transitional justice court could land politicians or their family members in prison. The last time Colombia went through a peace process with a transitional justice court, many dozens of congressmen were imprisoned for ties to paramilitary death squads.
One third of the Senate unsuccessfully tried to be declared impeded to vote over alleged conflicts of interests related to war crimes.
The Transitional Justice System and the related Truth Commission is supposed to clarify how Colombia’s armed conflict could degenerate to the level it did, with state-loyal paramilitary groups at one point committing a massacre every 48 hours.
According to the country’s prosecution, the system will prosecute at least 7,000 guerrillas, 24,400 state officials either convicted of or charged with war crimes, and some 12,500 civilians accused of financing terrorism.