Colombia on its way to end 50 year conflict with terrorist organization

Colombia on its way to end 50 year conflict with terrorist organization

In the past week, Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos publicly announced an agreement with the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) which will put an end to a conflict that has caused over 200,000 deaths in the past five decades [1].

Since the 1960’s the Colombian government and FARC have been engaging in combat. FARC originally established itself as a radical communist guerrilla in 1964 seeking a Colombian revolution based on Marxist-Leninist ideas. During the 1990’s, the organization controlled over forty percent of the Colombian territory and had an army of over 18,000 people [2].

The Colombian government was able to fight the guerilla and weaken the movement with the help of the United States. Today FARC has over 8,000 soldiers and is still influential in the southern portion of the country, close to Venezuela [3]. FARC is responsible for most drug trafficking, especially cocaine, in South America as well as kidnappings around Colombia. Together, such activities provide FARC with its funding.

The agreement, which should be formalized in March 2016, consists on an exclusive peace court that will judge cases directly related to the conflict [4]. The court will be allowed to punish offenders without a prison sentence if indemnification for the victims is possible. In this case an arrangement should be settled between the victim and the offender with regard to how the sentence should be completed. The court may issue prison warrants when compensation is not possible. There will be no extraditions of those found guilty.

by Gianluca Minardi ’17