Colombia’s Democratic Center, the party headed by former President Alvaro Uribe, rejected a request by the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia urging the country to “remove the obstacles” for the fulfillment of the peace accords.
“The Democratic Center’s legislative bloc, responsible in great part for president-elect Ivan Duque’s victory rejects the U.N. Verification Mission statement and does not accept its demands,” a party press statement affirmed Tuesday.
According to the legislators, their proposal to adjust the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is supported by the majority of Colombians who voted against the agreement in the 2016 referendum and who elected Duque, a staunch detractor of the peace process who vowed to modify the accords.
Senator Uribe and his protege, Duque, believe the agreements threaten Colombia’s military and police. There is ample evidence that during Colombia’s armed conflict state security forces committed crimes against humanity, conducted massacres (some of which Uribe is directly linked to), intimidated entire communities, and contributed to the creation of paramilitary forces that continue to threaten the civilian population.
The U.N. highlighted that Colombia’s peace process “is notable for the emphasis it places on ensuring that the transition from an armed conflict to peace is accompanied by truth, justice, reparation for the victims and non-repetition.”
One of the mechanisms established for this transition is the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP for its Spanish acronym) charged with trying and sentencing FARC members and state security forces.
The JEP allows exchanging prison sentences for testimony that would be used to clarify all cases of human rights violations.
The JEP was scheduled to begin its work on March 15. However, on June 18 the Senate heeded a call by President-elect Duque to indefinitely postpone the debate of a bill on the procedures to apply the JEP.
“More than a year after the approval of Legislative Act 01, which created the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-repetition, victims are still waiting for the first hearings of those who were involved in serious violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law,” the U.N. lamented.