The FARC’s persistence in rejecting jail time for rebels accused of atrocities has resulted in fierce criticism from both the government and the NGO Human Rights Watch.
“I have a fierce rejection for them,” said the government’s chief negotiator, former Vice President Humberto de la Calle, in a response on Tuesday.
“Their interventions [in the media] have been full of twists, excuses,” De la Calle said.
“What the Colombians want is a categorical recognition of the victims, of the acts they have committed,” added the chief negotiator.
De la Calle’s counterpart, FARC commander “Ivan Marquez,” on Sunday stated that “for the guerrillas there will be zero jail time.”
The rebels have repeatedly demanded that the government also takes responsibility for the estimated seven million victims of the 50-year-long conflict. Both parties in the war have been condemned for human rights violations and war crimes.
However, according to Marquez, “no peace process in the world has ended with leaders of the insurgency behind bars.”
“It is obvious that the FARC do not want to go to jail, but they should see that not everything is possible,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director of Human Rights Watch, said.
|“They are grotesque and insulting remarks towards the victims and against those who believe in a peace process.”Jose Miguel Vivanco|
“I think these are simply negotiating positions because obviously they are grotesque and insulting remarks towards the victims and against those who believe in a peace process,” said Vivanco in an interview with W radio.
The FARC and the Colombian government are currently negotiating the end of 50 years of conflict and have reached the point where agreement is needed on how to prosecute crimes committed by both parties during the conflict.
While amnesty is common in peace accords, the FARC’s claim that not one guerrilla will go to jail is highly controversial in Colombia as the group is accused of thousands of human rights violations.
Vivanco went on to argue that “there are some basic rules and when you have violated them repeatedly, the country has to respond.”
Peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government have been ongoing since 2012 and have so far resulted in partial agreements on drug trafficking, rural reform and political participation of the guerrillas and other leftist actors.
If the warring parties reach agreement on victim compensation and the end of conflict, a deal marking the end of 50 years of internal armed conflict would be signed.