Colombia congress approves amnesty measure

Colombia congress approves amnesty measure

Colombian Congress approved [press release; Spanish] a measure Wednesday granting amnesty to low-level Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [BBC backgrounder] guerrillas who have not committed atrocious crimes. The measure will also create a special procedural system for FARC fighters accused of offenses outside the boundaries of amnesty. The new law is part of a peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC. An earlier version of the law failed in October, and this version faced fierce opposition with some members abstaining from the vote. The government hopes the measure will stabilize the peace agreement and act to reassure [Reuters report] those rebels moving to demobilize.

The Colombian government and the FARC reached a peace agreement [JURIST report] last month to end the guerrilla warfare that has been plaguing the country for more than five decades. In December Colombia’s Constitutional Court approved [JURIST report] the government’s plan to expedite a peace deal with the FARC. Colombian voters in October narrowly rejected [JURIST report] the previous peace deal negotiated between Santos and Timoleon Jimenez, the leader of the FARC. The Colombian government and the FARC signed a ceasefire [JURIST report] in June, marking an end to more than 50 years of armed conflict between the two groups.