Colombia’s last-standing Marxist rebel group, the ELN, said Tuesday that in the event of successful peace talks it will not submit to the transitional justice model agreed with the much larger FARC rebel group.
The ELN is set to begin formal peace talks with the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos on February 2, three months after the FARC agreed to demobilize and disarm.
The FARC will subsequently submit to a transitional justice system that allows amnesty for guerrillas not suspected of grave human rights violations, a system unfit for the ELN, according to rebel negotiator “Aurelio Carbonell.”
“How are we going to submit to something we never negotiated?” Carbonell was quoted as saying by newspaper Diario del Huila.
“This [transitional justice system] is what has been agreed with the FARC. With us this will be on the table. The government had the chance to negotiate with both guerrilla groups, but didn’t want to. We will not submit to that justice [system].”
ELN negotiator “Aurelio Carbonell”
The ELN said to lack confidence in the government, considering the ongoing killing of community leaders that spiked after the FARC agreed to change their rifles for congressional seats.
One of the ELN’s top commanders, “Pablo Beltran,” said in a separate interview that “we have serious doubts.”
“While there is conciliatory language used around the [negotiations] table, the daily political persecution against the left and against every person who thinks differently continues to get worse,” Beltran told the guerrillas’ clandestine radio station.
Talks with the ELN have hardly progressed since they were first announced in mid 2014, just days before Santos’ reelection.
Both parties have provisionally added demands for talks in spite of written agreements, which on several occasions has delayed the formalization of talks.
Inspired by the Cuban revolution, the ELN has been fighting the Colombian state since 1964 in a multi-party armed conflict that has caused the death of more than 265 thousand Colombians and the displacement of 7 million.