President Juan Manuel Santos has claimed he did not make “any specific proposal” that drug-trafficking be treated as a political crime, following fierce criticism of his comments that “flexibility” be applied to FARC crimes, which could include drug trafficking or benefiting from drug trafficking.
The president’s comments were made on 2 December and prompted a storm of criticism, but while Santos appears to be conceding ground he also urged society to discuss “extending the spectrum of [politically] related crimes” so that FARC guerrillas would not be barred from political participation in the event of a peace agreement.
The president is under pressure to advance the peace negotiations in Havana by establishing a pathway for former-guerrillas to participate in politics, while at the same time ensuring that the victims of the FARC are able to access justice.
Colombian jurists as well as politicians from the opposition and government side of Congress voiced anger or concern over the possibility that drug-trafficking offences would not be punished. Santos has claimed that broadening the conception of political crimes would only relate to former rebels’ participation in politics, “because the criminal part will be based on the legal framework for peace.”
The legal framework for peace, approved by the Constitutional Court, enables Congress to decide which offenses are related to political crimes, with the exception of crimes against humanity and genocide.