The 26 camps that are being build for the demobilization and disarmament of Colombia’s FARC rebels may remain once the first 180 days of the peace process are over to facilitate the former guerrillas’ reintegration.
According to Caracol Radio, the government and the FARC have already agreed it would make little sense deconstructing the sites that 120 days into the peace process aren’t even constructed.
Since peace was signed in November last year, the guerrillas have stayed in provisional camps under observation of the United Nations while they help construct the so-called ZVTN camps.
These camps should have been ready in December already, but according to the UN mission chief last week, many are between 10% and 50% of completion. The government has vowed to finish construction before the end of April, two months before the camps were supposed to be deconstructed.
While both the government, the UN and the FARC have committed to finish the demobilization and disarmament of the FARC before May 31, the reintegration of the 6,900 guerrillas and thousands of militia members will take much longer.
“What are these thousands of men going to do after June 1? It doesn’t make sense to build these constructions only for them to be abandoned,” one of the FARC’s leaders, Luis Alberto Alban, a.k.a. “Marcos Calarca” was quoted as saying by Caracol Radio.
The Colombian government’s peace commissioner agrees and has promised to use the 26 zones for reintegration activities.
“The zones will end as mechanism of the ceasefire and as legal entity,” Peace Commissioner Sergio Jaramillo said.
“What will be left is the infrastructure to promote the ordered reincorporation of the FARC in civilian life for a while,” the peace commissioner added.
Both parties are still looking into the legality of such a solution that would avoid the thousands of ex-guerrillas to disperse into a society that is hostile at best.
Paramilitary groups have already warned they would kill any former guerrilla they find in civil society, while Colombia’s citizens have yet to forgive or forget the thousands of war crimes committed by the FARC.
Additionally, a number of demobilized and disarmed guerrillas and their commanders will have to appear before a transitional justice system to respond for their crimes.
If convicted, the war criminals will not go to prison, but be imposed “restricted liberties.” This could mean convicted FARC war criminals could be detained inside the camps while carrying out reparation activities for the towns and individuals they victimized during their 52-year-long war against the state.