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Colombia: Human Rights Watch Raises Concerns over FARC Political Participation

By: Felipe Fernández - @Ffernandezp - Jul 17, 2017, 6:46 pm
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According to HRW, serious problems remain with regard to allowing FARC political participation in Colombia (Twimg).

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has submitted a report to the Constitutional Court expressing its concerns about the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).

In the document sent to the High Court, they consolidates their concerns and arguments from “international law” with regard to Legislative Act 1 of 2017, which established the Special Peace Justice conventions, after signing the agreement with the FARC.

José Miguel Vivanco, director of HRW in the Americas, said that although the body “applauds the peace process between the Colombian Government and the FARC,” it has “grave concerns about the shortcomings in the area of justice included in the agreement.”

According to HRW, the defects previously noted remain in Legislative Act 1 of 2017, in which he outlines two fundamental problems.

“An excessively broad provision on political participation for members of the FARC, and an unjustifiably rigid definition of command responsibility for members of the armed forces that could prevent high-ranking police officers from being held accountable for the crimes committed by their subordinates,” the agency said.

HRW has repeatedly expressed concerns about the possibility that members of the FARC, the perpetrators of serious crimes against humanity, may hold public office, even while serving their sentences.

“While we agree with the Colombian government that one of the fundamental purposes of the peace process is to allow the FARC to promote their political objectives in a democratic framework, such participation in politics could limit compliance with the sanctions imposed by the Special Jurisdiction For Peace.”

“The political participation of those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of human rights is subject to the full and unconditional fulfillment of the sanctions imposed by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace”.

Colombia’s 2018 presidential election is likely to feature a heated contest between German Vargas Lleras, who has the implicit backing of current President Santos, and the Colombian left and right. Alvaro Uribe’s Centro Democratico party has yet to choose its nominee, while many believe that former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo is the most promising candidate on the Colombian center-left.

Source: Blu Radio

Felipe Fernández Felipe Fernández

Felipe Fernández is a reporter from Colombia for the PanAm Post. He's a law student at the La Gran Colombia University in Armenia. Follow him on Twitter: @Ffernandezp