Peace negotiations between delegations of the Colombian government and the Colombian guerrilla movement, FARC-EP are continuing in the Cuban capital, Havana.
No doubt the main achievement of round 34 has been the decision to initiate a pilot project for the cleaning and decontamination operation of Antipersonnel Mines (APM), Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in the regions of Antioquia and Meta.
On 28 March round 34 of the peace talks ended. In their joint communique (number 53) the government and the FARC-EP reported that “during the next round there will be a workshop in Havana to advance the implementation plan; and to create three formal structures to initiate the work”.
These structures are:
- A Reference Group, comprising General Oscar Naranjo, National Government delegate, Carlos Antonio Lozada, FARC-EP delegate, two delegates from the guarantor countries Cuba and Norway, and an APN delegate.
- A Steering Group, in charge of coordinating the implementation of the pilot project from Havana. It will be composed by, on behalf of the government, Admiral (r) Rafael Colón, director of the Integrated Action Against Anti-personnel Mines DAICMA, Commander of the Demining Battalion of the Army, BIDES, or a delegate of the General Command of the Military Forces. On behalf of the FARC-EP, the Comandantes Matías Aldecoa and Edilson Romaña. By the NPC, the delegate of the program in Colombia, Vanessa Finsson.
- A Project Management Group, in charge of direct on-site coordination
A new round of talks will begin on April 10.
The FARC-EP have issued its own communique, defining four issues that they consider of utmost importance to reach a final peace agreement.
The communique, as published on the guerrilla’s Peace Delegation webpage in English reads:
“The first is related to State responsibility. Not surprisingly, the report submitted by the Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims to the Table, suggests that the State is the main responsible of what happened over six decades of social and armed conflict in Colombia.
The Historical Commission, launched at the request of the Table, wasn’t conformed to please one of the several parties to the conflict, but to clarify the origins, causes and responsibilities of it. The results cannot be stored or thrown into the fire of oblivion, as suggested by the government indifference. Not only must they be disclosed massively but also dispassionately and with full maturity, should the lost legitimacy of the State be recognized. And speaking of this and of institutional problems, recognition doesn’t signify a “leap of faith”, as President Santos said referring to the crisis and agony of justice, because to be honest, all institutions have been dragged by the burden of corruption a long time ago.
To the country and to the Table we propose addressing the responsibility of the State, which is an issue that should necessarily be discussed, placing peace as a synthesis right above anything else, convinced that with the consent of the sovereign people we will find a quick way to resolve the conflict. If State liability is accepted, this comes across.
The second issue is that of justice as a whole, without excluding the problems of jurisdiction. But let’s clarify that within this universe, we don’t refer to transitional justice some people who are unaware and ignorant of the historical truths dream about. They want justice to be applied to rebels and members of the security forces, but with a golden cage for those who carry official State insignia and another cage of indignity for those who have exercised the right of rebellion and wear the uniform of the insurgency. We forewarned our contenders in the battlefield that military jurisdiction is as a “poisoned candy”; apparently they are exonerated, but it is no guarantee that in the future, under any pretext, only they can be put into jail to be processed as maximum responsibles while the real ones wash their hands.
We came to Havana to make peace, not to submit ourselves. The struggle for social justice, equality of opportunities and a less poorer country without misery, without child malnutrition, without beggars, without people who steal the coffers of the State, doesn’t have to go through the conscience of corrupt judges (though not all of them), jeopardized and convicted by the sane opinion of Colombians. Justice is subordinated. A transitional justice with the participation of the indecorous Mr. Pretelt may be applied in some twilight zone, but not in our suffering country. We appeal to law as a solution, not as an obstacle. True justice is beyond the venal courts. That is why we don’t accept rulings on peace, modulated by a Constitutional Court which is rigged and for sale.
We are not impressed by those who have not experienced violence, or by those who have only heard about it in official texts and don’t really know the history of Colombia. The Agenda of Havana reflects realities. It is a chart of superior character, unchangeable in substance. Don’t insist on changing it, because it is there to be fulfilled, not to satisfy poorly justified whims; the intention of the Agenda is to reach peace and propose a better future. The ones who feel frustrated because it lacks what they want or intend, should get out of the way. We must avoid at all costs that the Table in Havana be assaulted with Trojan horses. We could go much faster to the final peace if we didn’t find surprises outside of the Agenda on every new corner of the dialogues.
Certainly the issue of jurisdiction is falling into the abyss together with the bad reputation of the State. The responsible State. And don’t think that we, because of being rebels, don’t know the general principles of law. Sometimes we listen to experts in various fields here to whom we highly respect. But there are others – pseudo-experts who obey to State stupidity-, who consider that the jungle has numbed our brains. They are wrong: we know about life and we know about death. And we know that being gullible, uninformed and confident can lead us to a precipice that could commit the justified and historical struggle launched by our heroes and compañeros some decades ago. We don’t deny the general theory of the State and the general principles of law, without losing sight of the fact that in Havana there is a political process going on. We are ready to start the debate. The ius puniendi collapsed, and that is one more consequence of the responsibility of a bedridden and uncapable State.
Ius puniendi. Yes. That is, the power of the State, which under its rule and power has the capacity to punish, when it is rooted in the legal system and the righteousness of the law. In the case of Colombia; what ius puniendi are we speaking about? Don’t think that we don’t know that it is also called subjective penal law. The current Colombian national State buried the principle of ius puniendi. Proof of it is the Ebola suffered by justice and which was recognized by President Juan Manuel Santos this week, when he said: No more corruption; no more personal favors; no more umbilical cords between politics and justice; no more corrupt or treacherous judges; the State of Rule should prevail over the State of opinion; no more legal advocacy; the lost legitimacy should be recovered; “We don’t want more lawyers visiting the courts to try to influence the decisions of judges” he added. We cannot but accept these public statement made by the President of the Nation as evidence of the collapse of the State and the disappearance of its power to ius poniendi.
But this is not new to Santos, and he isn’t blameless either. Thus we find it unacceptable that they are giving some people the power to choose the names of those who will conform the Court of the Protected that has been announced.
Who knows who is being protected by the decision not to retire the accused judges; which ministers, which litigants of the State, which company financing political campaigns. The country has the right to suspect and it is time that things are clarified.
The third issue is the non-utilization of peace in the upcoming October elections. We will not cede rights that derive from the Agenda and become complacent with the needs of some party. Partial endorsements are meaningless. We will stick to the need of complying with the Agenda. Its sixth item states that implementation, verification and countersignature of the terms of the achieved peace will be carried out after signing the final agreement. That is how we will proceed without any delay.
Consequently, our fourth issue is to insist on advancing the drafting of the agreements for the reparation of all victims by all those who have been involved at different moments in this historical conflict. It was well said by former President Gaviria, when he mentioned the problems that “were generated within Colombian society during the war for more than fifty years” to refer to those who have been part of it as actors and perpetrators: “Members of civil society” and “non-combat sectors”; private businessmen, politicians, public officials, guerrillas and paramilitaries; and judges: “Members of the judiciary who in one way or another have also been involved in the conflict and have to respond before Colombian justice”.
Today, more than ever, the way to overcome the institutional crisis and achieve peace is the National Constituent Assembly.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
(1) The Court of the Protected (Tribunal de los Aforados): Within the project for the justice reform, in order to resolve the serious problems of corruption and malfunctioning of the justice system in Colombia, the President will appoint the first ‘court of the protected’, that will investigate the behavior of protected judges of the Colombian Courts.