The government of Colombia has pardoned 110 FARC rebels as a part of the peace deal which has put an end to 52-year old conflict. The pardons which have been granted apply only for the political crimes. It does not cover grave offences like rape and killings. All the pardons which have been granted will be reviewed by a judge before they come into force.
Also, another 5500 soldiers, police officers and other agents of state who have been convicted of minor offences which were linked to the conflict will also be released. The primary issue which has been a major hurdle has been the meting out of justice to the victims of the conflict.
FARC has also dismissed five of its commanders from units in the south-eastern jungle for refusing to join the peace process. The first deal was rejected by the Colombian voters in a referendum as it was too soft on rebels.
FARC which was launched in 1964 from a small peasant uprising is 5700 fighters strong at present. The conflict has claimed lives of 260,000 people and another 45,000 are missing.
Colombia has signed a revised peace agreement with FARC rebel groups aimed at ending half a century of war that has killed more than 220,000 and internally displaced millions. The agreement has been reached less than two months after a plebiscite narrowly rejected the original agreement. The talks to reach the deal were taking place in Havana (Cuba) for the past four years. The new agreement aims to satisfy all those objections made by millions of Colombians who rejected the original deal in the referendum. President Juan Manuel Santos, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his efforts to end the war. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest rebel group was founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party. It began as a rebellion fighting rural poverty. Inspired by the Cuban revolutions of 1950s, the FARC rebels began to demand more rights and control over the land.
Unlike the previous deals, the new deal will not be subjected to referendums and will require the approval of Congress over the next few weeks. Within 90 days of approval, FARC rebels will begin to lay down their arms and within five months they are required to completely surrender all weapons to the UN. Also, under the new deal, the rebels have to declare their assets and the money will be used for reparation payments to victims of the conflict. However, the new agreement has not included jail terms and a ban on holding public office. The peace agreement would not form a part of the Colombia’s constitution.