New Justice Accord Signed, Agreement Made to End War in Six Months

11:30 pm

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Word that something was up in the Colombian peace talks began filtering out quickly this morning.  A government colleague warned me to stay tuned for an announcement later today.  A friend in academia told me there was a pending agreement on the justice issue. By 8 am, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos had put out a tweet blast that he was adding a stopover in Havana to meet with the negotiators before his scheduled trip to New York for the UN General Assembly meetings.  Minute by minute, expectations grew.  “Timochenko,” the FARC’s top commander, had arrived on the island and rumors flew of an impending tete-a-tete.  By 11 am, when Santos’s military jet departed for Havana, it carried not only Santos and his presidential team, but also the heads of the Colombian Senate and Congress, and leaders of virtually all of the major political parties and movements.  Only one party was conspicuous by its absence–that of former President Alvaro Uribe, whose Centro Democrático party has been a long-time opponent of the peace talks.  By noon, the Colombian media was announcing that a long-awaited agreement on “victims,” the fourth of six items on the peace agenda, was imminent.  News leaked later that President Santos was expected to announce the deadline by which the half-century long conflict would officially conclude.

By evening, the stage was set.  From the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, a special ceremony, carefully choreographed and rich in symbolism, unfolded with all the major players dressed in white.   An unidentified woman from the Cuban Foreign Ministry welcomed the guests of honor.  Raúl Castro, Cuba’s President of the Council of State and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba was flanked by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on his right and FARC Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (aka “Timochenko”) on his left.  Also present were Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez; the representatives of the Colombian government and the FARC-EP peace delegations; and representatives of Cuba, Norway, Chile, and Venezuela, the  nations that served as guarantors and accompanied the process.  The moderator turned the floor to Rodolfo Benitez and Dag Nylander, guarantors from Cuba and Norway, respectively, who read the joint communiqué that the peace delegations had crafted.  (Read the full text of the communiqué in Spanish here or view my English translation:  Joint Communiqué 60 on the Accord for the Creation for a Special Judicial Process for Peace.)

Following the reading of the agreement, lead negotiators Humberto de la Calle for the Government of Colombia, Iván Márquez for the FARC, the Cuban and Norwegian guarantors, and the Chilean and Venezuelan delegates all signed the agreement.  Cuban Council of State President Raúl Castro turned the podium over to Santos and Timochenko for their comments.  They each underscored their commitment to ending the conflict. President Santos announced that they have instructed their negotiators to produce a final peace agreement within the next 60 days.  In turn, Timochenko announced that the FARC have agreed to set aside their arms in the subsequent 60 days after signing the agreement.   Many details and challenges are yet to come, but for now, this was a historic day worth celebrating.

Below find the CNN interview that I did at 12:30 last night:

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2015/09/24/colombia-farc-rebels-peace-deal-bouvier-cnni-nr-intv.cnn.html

 

 

About Ginny Bouvier

Love reading, writing, thinking, and working with people to make the world a better place. Family and friends, yoga, travel, photography, perusing dessert menus keep me sane. Latin American enthusiast. Peace practitioner yearning for justice. Heading up the Colombia program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, but tweets and posts are my own.
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6 Responses to New Justice Accord Signed, Agreement Made to End War in Six Months

  1. Excellent interview and report.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter H. Fraser says:

    Good interview. Colombians are still very divided, it seems from various interviews and discussion programs on RCN late last night and this morning, on the issue that you nicely parsed on “restorative” justice versus “punitive” justice. There is a very strong attitude that justice isn’t real justice if it’s not punitive. I hope there will be a major effort on the part of everyone involved in the peace process to clarify and convince skeptics regarding why the issue of restorative justice, that also aims at trying to thwart “repetition” of hostilities and the continuation of the war, is so critically important to the final agreement, ostensibly to be signed within six months. Thank’s, Ginny, for keeping interested people informed over the past years on the status of the peace dialogues.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment. There is much work to be done educating the public about restorative justice, its capacities for healing, and the need to seek alternatives to vengeance that will only deepen societal divisions.

      Like

  3. dario fajardo says:

    Apreciada Virginia: Muchas gracias por todo el apoyo que está dando al proceso U abrazo Darío Fajardo M

    Like

  4. Pingback: Electoral Results, Justice Accords Considered | COLOMBIA CALLS

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