Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday implied in an interview with Spain’s El Pais newspaper that members of rebel group FARC, currently negotiating peace with the government, may not go to prison.
The negotiations have received strong criticism from human rights organization and conservative opponents about the lack of clarity whether leaders of the FARC — a group accused of thousands of human rights violations and tens of thousands of crimes — may not go to prison in the event of a peace accord with the government.
Santos told El Pais that “the possibility exists” that members of Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC, will face prison time as a result of the peace process, leaving the possibility rebels walk free.
|“How much justice do you sacrifice to achieve peace.”|
When asked what the hardest part of the peace process involving victims has been, Santos responded that “one obstacle was that the FARC considered themselves victims and not victimizers.”
However, the president recognized that that hurdle was passed 11 days ago when the FARC formally recognized their victims of the conflict.
Santos explained the essence of the biggest obstacle now as “how much justice do you sacrifice to achieve peace.”
“For the first time victims will be at the center of the solution to the conflict, and we will respect their rights within a transitional justice framework. That justice determines that the rights of victims are their rights to truth, reparation, justice, and guarantee of non-repetition,” Santos told El Pais.
“This will guarantee that there will be no impunity. It is categorically impossible,” affirmed Colombia’s president.
According to Santos, Colombia’s constitution and international treaties that Colombia has signed does not allow “those amnesties of the past that erases memory of everything.”
When asked about prison time for those responsible for crimes against humanity, Santos responded that, “There are different definitions of prison. That is what is being negotiated.”
Santos said he hopes the peace process will be completed this year, but refuses to establish a deadline.
The FARC have been fighting the Colombian government since its foundation in 1964.
- “La clave es cuánta justicia se sacrifica en aras de la paz” (El Pais Internacional)