Thousands of FARC remain in prison

The Colombian government has issued a new decree to facilitate the release of incarcerated FARC guerrillas, removing an obstacle to the amnesty process that had become one of the most serious short-term threats to the implementation of Colombia's peace accords.

On July 19, Colombia's Justice Ministry issued Decree 1252, establishing the legal framework for suspending judicial process and granting amnesties and pardons for the thousands of members of the demobilizing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) that remain in prison, reported El Espectador.

The decree, which stands as a complement to last year's amnesty law, ensures the judicial situation for the remaining incarcerated FARC members will be rapidly resolved by stipulating that all cases must be processed within 10 days of a claim, and establishing sanctions for judges that fail to do so, reported El Universal.

The new decree also attempts to unravel the entangled legal situations of many FARC members. It states that FARC members convicted of certain crimes, some of which are not covered by the amnesty, will receive conditional freedom as long as they have already served at least five years in prison.

In response to the law, FARC leader Seusis Pausias Hernández, alias "Jesús Santrich," ended the hunger strike he began nearly a month ago over the long-delayed release of imprisoned FARC members, reported El Espectador.

InSight Crime Analysis

Resolving the legal situation of FARC prisoners had become a major stumbling block in implementing Colombia's peace accords, to the extent that even the United Nations had condemned the Colombian government over its seemingly endless delays in releasing the prisoners.

By the start of July, more than six months after the passing of the amnesty law, only 30 percent of FARC prisoners had been released, according to prisoner's rights groups. A report by a coalition of such networks details how the FARC have recognized 3,400 prisoners as members, while the government has certified 2,400 as FARC militants. Of those who were certified, 285 had been granted amnesty, 254 were granted conditional liberty and 283 moved to FARC demobilization camps.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of FARC Peace Process

The delays over amnesty have been one of the FARC's principal concerns throughout the demobilization process, contributing to distrust of the government and its will and capacity to deliver on its promises.

However, over 7,000 FARC members have now benefited from amnesty, and if they are soon joined by their imprisoned comrades, this will remove one of the largest sources of anxiety and possible dissent among the FARC ranks.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.