Officially, the two negotiation teams only have to agree on “Victims” and “End of Conflict,” the last two agenda points before reaching peace and a post-conflict phase during which the made agreements are implemented and FARC fighters demobilize.
Both points have already been part of the negotiations for close to a year, but were held up by disagreements on justice, which had been kept out of the original agenda.
Following the signing of the contentious transitional justice agreement and the symbolic first handshake between Santos and Timochenko, the peace talks are at a point of no return and both parties involved in the dialogues now have to decide what will happen with the final agreements.
“We will be giving a definitive goodbye to Colombia and the world’s longest war,” said Santos but assured that it would be “no easy task as many difficult points still need to be agreed”
The victims agreement seeks to find a way in which the victims of the conflict can be compensated through recognizing their human rights and being loyal to the truth. Five groups of victim representatives have attended Havana over the course of the peace talks that began in 2012 to help form the policies.
In June the FARC proposed that they want to amplify the 2011 Victims Law that regulates victim reparation and the restitution of lands. The guerrillas also seek a Pluralist and Unified Victim’s Registry which would hold victims of both the FARC, the state, and state-aligned paramilitary groups. They also said that individual victims and victims rights organizations should be directly involved in the formulation of policies that would contribute to the granting of victims’ rights.
In order to repair victims, the FARC urged the government to agree to its earlier proposal to create a “Special Fund for Integrated Reparation” consisting of 3% of Colombia’s GDP for a period of ten years. This fund would finance a “National Plan for the Integrated Reparation of Conflict Victims.”
The government never made its counter proposals or its stance on victim reparation public.
End of conflict
The end of conflict agreement will finalize all of the agreements by deciding on how they will be implemented through creating verification and follow-up commissions. These commissions will be made up of representatives of the government, the FARC and society.
One sub-commission that seeks a bilateral ceasefire and consists of top military and rebel commanders has already been working on this since December last year.
How much Colombia’s post-conflict peace process will cost and how it will be paid for is the big question though, especially now emerging markets are going through economic turmoil.
According to a report from Bank of America in 2014, the implementation of the peace agreements will cost at least 1% of Colombia’s GDP per year ($5.300 million) and at most 3.8% ($18.800 million). According to the BBC, there are those that say these figures are untrue as the costs of peace have already been paid for.
Negotiators have already reached preliminary agreements on aspects of the deal, including rural development, political participation of former guerrillas and how the illicit drug trade will be quelled.
However, in all of these details there are blanks that require filling in, before a final deal can be reached.
In the transitional justice deal, for example, the two parties decided on various sentences of “restricted liberty” that will be implemented by a special tribunal for those, either FARC, military or politicians, who have committed a serious conflict related crime. What this “restriction of liberty” actually would consist of however is yet to be defined, as it could constitute Pablo Escobar-type luxury prisons, or something more gritty.
For more than a year negotiators had been disputing over what to do about those accused of crimes during the fighting.“This breaks the back of the war,” said Bernard Aronson, a special envoy from the United States. “These are the most important breakthroughs since negotiations began,” he said.
“Let’s join efforts to achieve peace,” FARC leader “Timochenko” posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
These joint efforts would be more than necessary if the rebels and the government want to close two agenda points within six months. On average it took the negotiators nine months per point so far.