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Colombia's Ex-President Santos To Meet With Truth Commission

  • Relatives of civilians killed extrajudicially demand justice, Colombia, March 17, 2021.

    Relatives of civilians killed extrajudicially demand justice, Colombia, March 17, 2021. | Photo: Twitter / @MAFAPOCOLOMBIA

Published 19 March 2021
Opinion

He was also Defense Minister during President Alvaro Uribe's administration when the largest number of extrajudicial executions of civilians took place.

Colombia's Former President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday will meet with Truth Commission President Francisco de Roux to schedule a public testimony on his country's armed conflict.

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"Santos reiterated his willingness to contribute to the clarification of the truth in the Commission," said the Jesuit priest Francisco de Roux, who chairs an institution created to build truth between victims and victimizers.

During his administration (2010-2018), Santos was one of the main architects of the 2016 Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla that after more than 50 years of struggle laid down arms and became a political party.

In 2019, the Truth Commission received former President Ernesto Samper (1994-1998) who spoke about the drug problem in the armed conflict and the leak of illicit money in his campaign. Ex-President Cesar Gaviria (1990-1994) also recounted the workings of drug trafficking during his term in office.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Santos was Defense Minister during the government of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010). During this period, the largest number of extrajudicial executions of civilians took place, whom the Colombian Army presented as if they were guerrillas killed in combat.

Santos swore in the first members of the Truth Commission in May 2018 shortly before the end of his presidency. So far, he had not given his version of what happened in the war during his eight years in office.

On Thursday, the Truth Commission hosted the first meeting between former FARC commander Rodrigo Londoño and former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso. During this event, the participants presented a roadmap to advance in the recognition of responsibilities for war crimes.

The dialogue between these parties will begin on April 21 and the two former leaders will participate with "the sincere desire to contribute to the truth" and achieve reconciliation, as Londoño said.

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