BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — After five decades of war, more than four years of negotiations and two signing ceremonies, Colombia’s congress late Wednesday formally ratified a peace agreement allowing leftist rebels to enter politics.
The 310-page revised accord was approved unanimously by the lower house, which voted a day after the Senate approved the same text 75-0 following a protest walkout by the opposition led by former President Alvaro Uribe.
The accord introduces some 50 changes intended to assuage critics who led a campaign that saw Colombians narrowly reject the original accord in a referendum last month. President Juan Manuel Santos has said there won’t be a second referendum.
Revisions range from a prohibition on foreign magistrates judging alleged crimes by government troops or by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to a commitment from the rebels to forfeit assets, some amassed through drug trafficking, to help compensate their victims.
But the FARC wouldn’t go along with the opposition’s strongest demands — jail sentences for rebel leaders behind atrocities and stricter limits on their future participation in politics.
“There needs to be a balance between peace and justice, but in this agreement there’s complete impunity,” Uribe, now a senator, said during Tuesday’s heated debate. Other senators accused him of standing in the way of a peace deal that he pursued with the FARC as president in 2002-10.
Read the whole story from Business Insider and the AP.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters.