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News > Colombia

Colombia: Senate Fails to Approve President Duque's Changes to Peace Bill

  • President Ivan Duque flies in a helicopter over Chiribiquete Mountains in Colombia, April 28, 2019.

    President Ivan Duque flies in a helicopter over Chiribiquete Mountains in Colombia, April 28, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 May 2019

Now the Colombian Constitutional Court will decide on Ivan Duque's objections to the law regulating the workings of the Special Jurisdiction of Peace.

Colombian political parties failed Thursday to reach the necessary agreements to decide at the Senate on the President Ivan Duque's objections to the Special Jurisdiction of Peace (JEP) law, which means that the Constitutional Court is now expected to analyze his proposal before it can enter into force.

Colombia's JEP Orders Capture of Former FARC, 'El Paisa'

Parliamentary debate closed with 47 votes in favor of Colombian President Ivan Duque's changes and 34 votes against them; however, according to the Constitution, the government proposal requires a clear majority of votes, with 48 of 96 votes for the objections to be approved.

Former President Juan Manuel Santos asked Duque to sign the JEP bill and to consolidate the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"Fortunately [the objections] were rejected, I hope that allows the JEP to start operating. It is not consistent that they put a stick to the wheel of the JEP," Santos said during the presentation of his book "The Battle for Peace," a work in which he provided details of the four-year negotiation process which culminated in the Peace agreement signed in Nov. 2016.

The so-called "Jurisdiction for peace" is a mechanism for enforcing transitional justice and was created in the 2016 deal in order to try in court militants who have been linked to the country's internal conflict. 

"Colombia begins to recognize [former President] Juan Manuel Santos' irrevocable bet on peace. Many need calm."

"The objections hurting the JEP bill have been denied. I read the jurisprudence and it is very clear that for the absolute majority half of the members are needed, not half plus one," said Senator Roy Barreras, a National Unity Party member, as TeleSUR reported.

Duque presented several objections to the JEP. Firstly, he requested that the final bill states that those who are guilty of war crimes, among which former guerrilla fighters could be included, make financial reparations to their victims.

The Colombian president also sought for the bill to not specify that a 'High Commissioner for Peace' is put in charge of verifying compliance with the peace agreements.

Regarding justice administration procedures, Duque argued that former non-conventional fighters should submit to "ordinary justice," that is, already existing laws, in order to avoid cases of potential war criminals getting off with impunity.


Ivan Duque
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