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Why Is Colombia’s President Working Against a Landmark Peace Deal With the FARC Guerrillas?

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Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Thousands of Colombian militants and soldiers will have their day in court.

A panel of judges ruled on May 29th that a special peace tribunal established in Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace deal with the FARC guerrillas must proceed under the agreed-upon terms. It cannot be altered to narrow its scope or make sentencing harsher, as Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, had requested.

Colombia’s transitional justice system, which resembles processes used in nations like South Africa and Guatemala, will judge FARC militants and members of the armed forces for crimes perpetrated during Colombia’s 52-year conflict. But the emphasis is on making amends for harm caused to civilians—not on punishing combat-related offenses, such as a guerrilla killing a soldier in combat.

Nearly all of the 6,804 FARC guerrillas who disarmed in 2016 and settled in government-run “reintegration camps” must now surrender themselves to the peace tribunal, swear to testify honestly and be interviewed by Colombia’s new truth commission.

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