Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) released a statement Thursday evening saying it is officially breaking with the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), the institutions that form the basis of the Havana Peace Accords signed nearly three years ago between the guerrilla group and the Santos administration.
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In a FARC communiqué, the organization said that the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a special court put in place to try former guerilla members, has been “distorted, changed … and has been manipulated by the enemy,” referring to the current government under President Ivan Duque.
“The FARC-EP leadership is officially breaking with the Comprehensive System (SIVJRNR) and other state institutions,” declared the disarmed members of the FARC.
The SIVJRNR was set up as a complete judicial and political system meant “to bring justice and rights to the victims” of the over 50 years of civil war supposedly brought to an end with the accord. Outlined in the Havana accords, the system was put in place “to ensure accountability for what happened, guarantee the legal security of participants and guarantee the coexistence, reconciliation and non-repetition of the conflict and thus ensure the transition from armed conflict to peace,” according to the government.
JEP is the backbone of the judicial system, charged with “investigating, judging and sanctioning the most serious crimes of the country’s armed conflict,” according to the court.
However, Duque has strongly opposed the agreement since its inception and during his presidency. Last March, the president tried, and failed, to amend six articles of the law outlining the JEP court that would have further criminalized former FARC who were trying to remain in the system and return to civilian life.
On Thursday, JEP said that all the formed disarmed FARC who decide to rearm will lose the benefits established by the peace agreement. JEP President Patricia Linares said at a press conference that the news of rearmament of some ex-combatants of the FARC-EP is a serious fact for the peace process in Colombia.
Linares said "if that FARC-EP group retakes its weapons, it loses all the benefits that were framed in the Peace Agreement."
Thursday morning, a minority of senior leaders of the former FARC announced their split from the main organization to take up arms again. Among the rearmed who appeared in a Youtube-published video was Jesus Santrich, a key FARC leader who was currently an elected legislator. He appeared publicly for the first time alongside Ivan Marquez, another former senior FARC leader who was integral in negotiating the peace accord, announcing a “new stage of armed struggle.”
"We announce to the world that the second Marquetalia has begun under the protection of international law that assists all the peoples of the world to rise up in arms against oppression" the dissident group said in the video.
Back in June, the JEP ordered the state prosecutor's office to release Santrich after 416 days in prison, accused of drug trafficking by the United States, post-accord. He was allowed him to resume his electoral post in the House of Representatives on June 11, but disappeared from the radar mid-July and was wanted by Interpol. He appearing to the public for the first time in the Aug. 29 video.
In total, the JEP announced it has expelled 11 former FARC from its system of judicial rehabilitation.
The Duque administration released a statement Thursday evening as well, demanding that the political party of the FARC, or Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, “immediately exclude” Santrich, Marquez and 12 others they say have retaken up weapons. The government said it “is dedicated to guaranteeing the reincorporation [into society] those who legitimately stay” within the 2016 agreement.
Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe reiterated his continual call to revoke the peace deal.