Colombia defined regulations to clarify the legal status of low-level demobilized members of illegal armed groups, stipulating that they will be sanctioned but not jailed, local media reported Tuesday.
President Juan Manuel Santos‘ administration laid out adjustments to Law 1424 to help define the manner in which over 20,000 demobilized ex-paramilitaries and other former members of illegal armed groups, who have not committed crimes against humanity, will be dealt with.
The amendment does not sentence former illegal fighters to prison, but still requires them to comply with certain legal sanctions.
Alejandro Eder, the high presidential advisor for reintegration, said that the amendment seeks “a balance between complying with the peace agreement that the government had with the demobilized and the right of the victims to truth and reparation,” newspaper El Tiempo reported.
According to the High Council for Reintegration, this definition of the law opens the possibility for demobilized persons from illegal armed groups to clarify their legal status and pay their debts to society without going to jail, as long as they haven’t committed crimes against humanity, reported Caracol Radio.
Arrest warrants will only be suspended for the demobilized fighters if they comply with the stipulations of the program, which include signing agreements to contribute to the Truth and Reparations process and participating in social service activities established by the government.
The former members of illegal armed groups will also be required to present themselves before a non-judicial body to provide information about the groups they belonged to and the general context of their participation.
Earlier in the month, government officials clashed over allegations that the government might provide full amnesty to the demobilized, after Vice President Angelino Garzon told media that the government could issue a decree allowing the former members of illegal armed groups to be pardoned. The statement sparked a heated response from Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras, who denied that such a pardon would occur.