Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday that impunity for FARC crimes is not up for discussion on the negotiating table after increasing concern over possible amnesty for the rebels.
Speaking from capital Bogota, Santos rejected arguments suggesting that the peace talks could result in impunity for the guerrilla forces. The issue of impunity for members of the rebel group has been raised by numerous human rights watchdogs, critics of the negotiation process and the country’s own Inspector General, but the head of state has consistently denied this possibility.
“There are those who are trying to say: ‘We aren’t enemies of peace, but we are enemies of peace with impunity. Today impunity is impossible” said Santos, indicating the presence of “international treaties” in place to uphold justice and saying that “nobody has mentioned impunity” at the negotiations currently going on in Havana, Cuba.
Santos went on to say that while impunity had definitely not come up for discussion, the issue of “transitional justice” was something that had been mentioned, but that “this is something completely different, which we have already seen in Colombia with the demobilization of the paramilitaries” which, the head of state admitted, was “not very successful.”
“I do not understand why people are so vehemently opposing something which could be so wonderful for Colombia” he said, before concluding “if we have managed to achieve the results we are seeing in the middle of a conflict, imagine what this country could be without it.”
Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez had on Monday delivered a similar statement, saying that he would resign before granting immunity to FARC members in the peace talks.
The government and left wing rebel group FARC have been in discussions for the past six months and are currently still in negotiation over the first point of six in the peace agenda, agrarian reform.