Colombia’s Senate approved the bill that sets up the procedures for the application of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP for its Spanish acronym), as part of the 2016 peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), however with judicial changes.
The news comes weeks after the debate on the JEP was postponed for weeks after the Democratic Center, founded by former President Alvaro Uribe and President-elect Ivan Duque's party, included two proposals to modify it.
The first bans the JEP from making declarations or revising evidence when there is extradition request for former guerrilla fighters or state security forces. The JEP will limit its role to verifying if the crime was perpetrated before or after the 2016 peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the former FARC.
The second effectively halts all judicial processes against state security forces investigated for crimes committed during Colombia's internal armed conflict by requiring Congress to create a special tribunal with new justices within the JEP. The creation of an exclusive tribunal to try police and military members requires a constitutional reform.
It not clear how long it will take for Congress to create the special tribunal, although the next government has an 18-month window to approve the reform. Then the Constitutional Court will need time to rule on the reform.
Alfredo Rangel, legislator for the Democratic Center explained "what we propose is that for the military personnel who believe the justices in the JEP do not represent guarantees because they are leftists. They must have the option of a new tribunal with impartial justices."
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos questioned the constitutionality of the reforms approved by the Senate. “Let’s see what happens in the Constitutional Court, but these articles present a serious constitutional concern,” Santos told the local press.