Colombia passes bill intended to induce paramilitary warlords to disarm

Colombia passes bill intended to induce paramilitary warlords to disarm

[JURIST] The Colombian Congress passed a bill Wednesday which gives lesser punishments to paramilitary leaders who disarm, admit their crimes, compensate victims, and return stolen goods. The bill, announced last week [JURIST report], was approved after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website in Spanish] made it more stringent after a warning by US lawmakers that its impact would not be strict enough to punish the crimes of far-right leaders of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) [ICT backgrounder], who have been in a civil war [Wikipedia backgrounder] with Marxist rebels since 1964. Although the bill's purpose is to reduce the power of the AUC, opponents say it will let the warlord killers off too easily. President Uribe, who has been in peace negotiations with the AUC for over two years, is expected to sign the legislation later this week. AP has more.