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Congressman proposes presidential pardon for FARC

posted by Esteban Refshauge

Colombia’s Congress should hand Juan Manuel Santos the power to grant presidential pardons to members of the FARC, said a congressman Friday.

The idea “is simply to include an article where the Congress authorizes the President of the Republic to exercise the conditions of a presidential pardon,” explained Jorge Enrique Rozo, a representative from the conservative liberal Cambio Radical party.

“As President Juan Manuel Santos has said, he is solely responsible for the failure or success of the peace process, so in that situation he would have the exclusive power to say at any given time who is given a presidential pardon,” said Rozo.

As Colombia is currently a signatory to the International Criminal Court, there are legal obstacles that prevent the government granting a mass amnesty to terrorist groups, such as the country’s largest guerrilla group FARC.

In an interview earlier this month, FARC negotiator Andres Paris said, “we must construct a new legal framework that includes the amnesties, that includes the pardons and that includes foremost the judicial forms that will allow the insurgent force to transform to a political organization.”

The FARC, which began their armed struggle against the state in 1964, will begin peace talks with the government in Norway’s capital Oslo on October 8.

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