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Colombian president announces draft of bill to disband fighters

[JURIST] Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website, in Spanish] announced Tuesday that his administration is planning to draft a bill which would effectively disband the right-wing paramilitary fighters supported by umbrella group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) [ICT backgrounder]. The US recently criticized the Colombian government for its leniency towards the paramilitary groups, which were created in the 1980s to attack leftist opposition rebels that had clashed with the Colombian government since 1964. Colombia responded to the US criticism in hopes of receiving money to help with the demobilization process [AP report]. The legislation, entitled the Justice and Peace Bill, could be approved as early as Thursday and would provide guidelines for thousands of AUC fighters to disarm and return to society. It would also ensure that those convicted AUC members who committed the worst crimes would serve jail terms, although many would be at reduced sentences. AP has more.

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