Former president Alvaro Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center, announced the Senate would push for constitutional reforms in Congress to bar leaders of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who were accused of being involved in crimes against humanity, from some form of political participation.
During the election campaign, president-elect Ivan Duque of the Democratic Center vowed to modify the peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2016. Thanks to the agreement, Colombia’s largest guerrilla group disarmed and agreed to participate in the country’s political life.
The agreement had generated harsh criticism, especially from Uribe and his followers, who argued that the agreement endorsed impunity and rewarded “terrorists.”
On Wednesday, senator Paloma Valencia announced Duque’s proposed modifications including plans to limit the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) ability to participate in the country's democratic process. The political party, which emerged from the demobilized guerrilla group, secured ten congressional seats as a part of the agreement. The first modification would see FARC's leaders, who Uribe's party accuses of having committed crimes against humanity, barred from some forms of political participation.
Valencia also announced they would create congressional seats for the conflict’s victims and retired military personnel.
Colombia’s Congress also approved a bill that effectively bans FARC legislators from integrating legislative commissions on constitutional matters of military affairs.
FARC’s Francisco Toloza rejected the bill saying “Farc is a political party with the same rights as other parties.”
According to Guillermo Rivera, the country's Interior Minister, the current government will challenge the bill.
“To tell a legislator that he or she cannot participate in a commission is to violate the principle of equality. There are no first and second rate legislators,” Rivera said.
The Senate also approved a bill that sets up the procedures for the application of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP for its Spanish acronym), but halted 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.