The FARC once again called for the creation of a truth commission to investigate culprits of war crimes and mass human rights violations perpetrated by actors in Colombia’s longstanding armed conflict, in a statement released Thursday.
Should a peace agreement emerge from ongoing negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, Colombia’s oldest rebel group, the rebels ask that an independent body be convened to fill in gaps in the historical record. The proposal, one made repeatedly by the FARC, references South Africa’s Truth Commission, which deconstructed the legacy of Apartheid in the 1990s.
“We wonder: how to establish responsibilities, or how to address the issue of victims at the peace talks, repair them, and make a commitment of ‘never again,’ if we don’t establish how the violence, which resulted in six decades or more of armed conflict, began?” FARC chief negotiator alias “Ivan Marquez” said.
|“Without truth, there’s no history; without history, there’s no national consciousness. If the truth of the past is not known, we won’t be able to build a lasting peace.”|
Colombians, said the FARC, are unaware of“the reality of what happens in Colombia” and that the accepted history of the country’s 50-year armed conflict has been severely distorted.
“After the end of internal or international conflicts, there have been integrated commissions, related to the need to clarify the facts and the circumstances of the ended conflict. However, although the internal conflict is still going on in Colombia, in view of the discussions being held in the city of Havana to achieve its final end, it is imperative to establish the various responsibilities of different actors, without prejudging that one of them must be accused and the others judge,” said Marquez, who went on to claim that the rebels receive disproportionate scrutiny as compared to the state, and that the country’s problems existed before the rebels did.
“To presume that the FARC-EP are the perpetrators in a process of an internal social conflict that started before the creation of the guerrilla movement, and say that they bear all the responsibility of violent behavior and inhuman episodes provoked by the state and its official and its para-official officers is an unrealistic approach,” said Marquez.
The FARC message concluded by asking that other elements of society, such as corrupt and “hegemonic political circles,” receive their share of the blame.
In Colombian history, said the FARC, there have been many “powerful actors who intend to play the role of mere spectators, while they have been perpetrators, too.”
The FARC and the government have been engaged in formal peace talks since November 2012. Earlier this week, the parties sat down for round 22 of negotiations.
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