It is encouraging to read the Legal Framework for Peace is making the reconciliation of victims a priority. FARC Negotiator Pablo Catatumbo said, “I have no problems to say to a señora, to a family, that I feel the pain that we have produced with the death of their loved one…We have to say we are sorry? Very well, we will do so.”
The application of the Legal Framework for Peace depends on the FARC’s complete demobilization and disarmament, a recognition of their responsibility and reparation to victims, the freedom of remaining hostages, and the return of all child soldiers to their families.
The grave human rights crimes are to be processed as “macro” investigations, so the leaders who ordered the crimes are investigated and sentenced.
Though the Legal Framework for Peace holds the maximum leaders responsible, all crimes against humanity will be investigated, including genocide and systematic crimes. The intention is to dismantle macro-criminal structures so mass crimes will not be repeated.
The law will determine if a demobilized person can participate in politics, depending on the crimes he committed.
Seven of the nine magistrates of the Constitutional Court gave their blessing to the Legal Framework for Peace as the route to take for peace accords with the FARC. The Constitutional Court said the State cannot allow, for any reason, that those who committed grave crimes — extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and child recruitment — be given impunity.
The Legal Framework for Peace includes a truth commission.
But the FARC expressed disagreement with this mode of transitional justice. They said such kinds of laws have been used by countries where war is over and “generally the winners have imposed the rules on the losers.” But in Colombia, they added, war continues and President Santos has recognized “the existence of an internal conflict.”
According to Government Negotiator Humberto De la Calle, the FARC propose a constituent assembly with predetermined quotas which are not voted by the public. De la Calle called it the FARC’s “self-amnesty.”
José Félix Lafaurtie, the president of Fedegan, the Colombian Federation of Cattle Farmers, said he feared the FARC would not disarm and would turn the next elections into a cocktail of arms, and drug-fueled money to buy votes.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director of Human Rights Watch, said, “.. the key here is to find a balance between peace and justice. That equilibrium is not present in the Legal Framework for Peace proposed by the Santos government because it guarantees impunity to those maximum responsible for the worst atrocities. Peace in Colombia can be founded on impunity.”