Under the provisions of a new decree Colombia’s government will not offer pardons to guerrillas who have committed crimes against humanity, according to a government press release issued Monday.
In the statement Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras set out the difference between a “political crime,” such as rebellion, and “heinous crimes” against humanity. “Political crimes” are pardonable under Colombian law but the distinction will prevent pardons for those guilty of kidnapping, murder or terrorism.
The decree will also bring an end to the provision allowing for the demobilization of rebels from their prison cells. Those who have been imprisoned from before April 4, 2008, will have until March 13 of this year to officially demobilize.
The demobilization process has long been a controversial issue in Colombia, primarily over the thorny issue of how to incentivize demobilization among rebels while simultaneously providing justice to their victims.
The efficacy of the processes has been questioned following the revelation that 10,000 demobilized fighters, both guerrillas and paramilitaries, have rearmed.