Colombia constitutional court rules justice tribunals are constitutional
Colombia constitutional court rules justice tribunals are constitutional

Colombia’s Constitutional Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled [judgment, PDF, in Spanish] that provisions for special justice tribunals outlined in the 2016 peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were constitutional.

The Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace [text, English translation] is the second recent attempt to obtain peace between Colombia’s government and rebel forces. Chapter 5 of this modified peace accord, Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparations and Non-Recurrence, sets forth the Special Jurisdiction for Peace which will provide alternative sentences to FARC members convicted of war crimes. Such alternatives [summary, text] will be available only to those who recognize their responsibility in committing the crimes, where those who do not will serve 15 to 20 years in prison. Examples of possible alternatives are set forth in the accord stating:

The FARC-EP are committed to reincorporation into civilian life and taking action as past of the process to help to redress the harm or injury caused. Such action may include, inter alia, participating in infrastructure rebuilding work in the areas most affected by the conflict and in programmes to clear such areas of anti-personnel mines (APM), improvised explosive devices (IED), unexploded ordnance (UXO) or explosive remnants of war (ERW), participating in programmers to substitute crops used for illicit purposes, contributing to the search for, location, identification and dignified return of remains of deceased persons deemed missing in the context of and due to the armed conflict, and participating in programmes to repair environmental damage, e.g. reforestation.

Though the court upheld most of the provisions concerning the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, it also made several modifications. One change opened the “possibility that ex-rebels could be extradited for crimes [Reuters report] committed after the peace process ends and that former guerrillas elected to public office could lose their seats if they fail to comply with the tribunal process.”