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News from Havana, Cuba

Find here the latest news reports from the peace process, straight from Havana, Cuba. Permanently updated. 
Monday, 18 December 2017 15:19

Iván Márquez: Implementation crisis can be overcome

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The Congress never took into account that the peace agreement is a special agreement linking human rights and International Humanitarian Law, contemplated in the international agreements signed by Colombia”.

The Political Councillor of the FARC, Iván Márquez, said while assessing the implementation of the peace agreements both in the territory and in the legislature, a year after their signature.

With the renegotiation of the Havana peace agreements, after the victory of the "No" camp in the referendum of 2 October 2016, and the subsequent signing of the new agreements between the State and the FARC-EP, a new political stage was kicked off in the country: the implementation of peace.

Everything was ready for the bilateral obligations resulting from the Agreement, to be fulfilled as things progressed in terms of legal adaptation of the agreement through the Fast Track and the abandonment of arms by the guerrillas.

At the same time the economic reincorporation of FARC former guerrillas; as well as its transformation into a legal political party would advance. Meanwhile, the judiciary would be responsible, through the Constitutional Court to give legitimacy to what was agreed and judges Execution of sentences would begin the process of release of former fighters through the Amnesty Law.

Although the Constitutional Court endorsed the referendum, it imposed the first modifications that opened the door to the modification of the agreements and there the right-wing political forces, that had promised to tear the agreement apart, had a golden opportunity. With a government without a political rudder in Congress, the opportunity to delay the discussions and to archive each of the peace initiatives presented by the executive or the FARC, became evident.

For the FARC, the process goes through a crisis that can be overcome as long as President Juan Manuel Santos assumes his responsibility: "The process - said Iván Márquez - has a stain of perfidy at this time of temporary crisis, if President Santos assumes exclusively the reins of his leadership and doesn’t leave others dealing with that task. We trust that he can make the best decisions in what would be the best work of his government: peace."

But the FARC is currently worried about four specific situations.

The first concern of the former guerrilla organization is the denaturalization of the Special Peace Jurisdiction, JEP, agreed in Havana. Now it seems like a unilateral jurisdiction, that is, only for the FARC, while the impunity of other political sectors involved in the conflict remains.

"It was a component of the System for Justice, Truth and Non-Repetition, - said Márquez -which would link all the participants in the armed conflict to the JEP. We are worried that what is affected is actually the spine of the JEP, i.e. the truth. Restorative justice is based on the detailed truth of what happened to access special treatments. The agreement in Havana, does not contemplate impunity for anyone. And as things stand, what is pursued is to ignore the truth because in Colombia there are sectors that fear more truth than the devil fears the cross”, added Iván Márquez.

The elimination of civilians and paramilitaries from the JEP, looks bad. "The operation of the anti-paramilitary Unit was not allowed, for the simple reason that Prosecutor Martínez did not like it, despite the fact that the Unit was part of that investigation body. This Unit would act only if the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, did not proceed before the reported cases of paramilitarism that are almost 15 thousand. This single fact justified the need to establish the Unit”, underlined Márquez.

Another concern for what was approved in parliament is in relation to the legal security of former fighters. Márquez refers to the battery of proposals presented by the Prosecutor Néstor Humberto Martínez, who in each debate announced objections. Even so, for the FARC, the door remained open for them to be judged by ordinary justice and lose their natural judge, the JEP.

As to political reform, Márquez underlined that “it has nothing to do with the agreement signed in Havana. We said we wanted to open the door to democracy, we said that electronic voting should be implemented to stop fraud, but in exchange we were given a toast, glass high up declaring a long life corruption and clientelism".

As to economic reincorporation, Márquez said that “The Government is stating that there is no money to finance our people". The FARC underlined the inactivity of productive projects as to economic reintegration is concerned.

In fact, it has been the guerrillas that have been taking steps in this direction, autonomously undertaking the productive projects in each of the Territorial Spaces for Reintegration, without governmental initiative.

"There are juicy resources for the municipalities that house the reincorporation zones. And local authorities could develop projects, including health, but there is no money for the necessary adjustments in the areas of reincorporation. And that makes the former fighters lose confidence" say the FARC representative.

Finally Márquez on behalf of the FARC thanked each of the diplomatic expressions for the success of the implementation. He was in particular referring to the pronouncement by the UN Security Council that called on the National Government to comply with the Agreement.

In the same way the FARC referred to the call by the Norwegian government, guarantor of the peace process, for the implementation to respect what has been agreed.