The FARC-EP has exercised the same right to rebellion that was taken up by the “Comuneros”, by the liberation army and by the people in general, to fight against injustice and oppression and free ourselves from the Spanish oppressive yoke. Both now and then, the actions taken by the rebels in order to achieve their legitimate objectives, must be treated as political crimes and amnestied as such. This is the mandate of the Political Constitution, despite the fact that over the last twenty years the State has tried to deny the insurgents the status of rebels, thus reducing an essential feature of our history to the simplistic concept of terrorism.
We understand that the measures that have been adopted during these peace talks in the field of justice cannot be symmetrical for all the parties that have been confronting each other in this war, since each belligerent force enjoys a different legal status. But undoubtedly all of them should enjoy equity, a balanced treatment and legal benefits, proportional to the necessary truth that we will offer to the country, to our determination to assume responsibility and our commitment to repair the victims of the conflict. Nothing else should be expected from those that are assumed to be courageous.
Under this premise, we affirm that the peace talks cannot become a trial against the FARC-EP or against military forces, if we consider the highly political nature of the Talks; the solution we reach to end the war should be of the same character. Therefore we affirm that to put imprisonment of any belligerent individual as a condition for the success of the peace process, is merely a political choice, not legal, and it is doomed to failure.
For any democratic mind, State crimes are the greatest possible perversion of political power, since the legitimacy of the State to exercise a monopoly of weapons comes from its obligation to respect the law and use force only for the purpose of defending the common good and the fundamental rights of citizens. But we also believe that the ultimate responsibility for these crimes cannot be attributed to the Colombian Armed Forces and police alone, because in a democratic State the chain of command has its apex in political power, which doesn’t enjoy immunity when it is acting against the fundamental rights of its people. In Colombia, State forces have often been used by political leaders and economic powers to commit crimes for the benefit of private interests, usually through alliances with mafia organizations and drug traffickers.
Therefore, we believe that the Military Criminal Jurisdiction (Fuero Penal Militar, in Spanish) is being offered to the members of the Armed Forces so that they will individually recognize themselves as maximum responsible of State crimes. Its approval will expressly point to the military institution and its members as most responsible for the crimes committed by the State and its auxiliaries during the internal armed conflict. Moreover, it won’t allow them to enjoy the legal benefits that will derive from the peace process.
Truth, the end of impunity, reparation and restoration of the caused damage and guarantees of non-repetition are, for us, the components of the model of Justice that should be applied after the Peace Agreement.
We don’t accept that the State’s obligation to seek justice amounts to an imperative to judge in a judicial process; we believe instead that it consists in an obligation to bring forward processes of a punitive nature that clarify responsibilities, penalizing or exonerating the case. In the Colombian domestic law, by constitutional law, we find expressly contemplated “transitional justice instruments of an extrajudicial character (…) that guarantee the State’s duties of investigation and punishment”, which can impose sanctions of a restorative nature, producing the effect of a universal res judicata and thus preventing future claims before any court or national or international jurisdiction. For various considerations, especially ethic ones, this option should and can have the necessary approval of the victims of the conflict, which we believe is possible.
Therefore, we invite you to a meeting with the Peace Delegation of the FARC in Havana, where with the assistance of our legal advisors, we will be able to talk at length about the scenarios that we consider to reach a solution in the matter of Justice, acceptable for all. We are sure that without your input, it won’t be possible to build a stable and lasting peace for Colombia.
Finally, we suggest, very politely, to share the contents of this letter with the officers and soldiers of the army and the organizations of retired officers of the National Police.
We hope for a positive answer to what motivated this letter.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP
More new delegates arrived in Havana, Cuba!
Antonia Simon Nariño
She joined the FARC-EP at the age of 23 in 2004, in the urban Front Antonio Nariño, Block Comandante Jorge Briceño.
“I made the decision to join the FARC-EP, because I was outraged seeing the injustice in which my people live and I am here to make the dream of seeing a just and peaceful Colombia come true”.
Ivonne Rivera León
She joined at the age of 15 in 2005, in the 40th Front of the Block Comandante Jorge Briceño.
“I am daughter of guerrilla fighters and I became aware of the need to change the country, and seeing and experiencing their suffering first-hand, I decided to join and accompany my parents”.
She joined at the age of 15, in 2004. She entered in the Front Jacobo Prías Alape, Block Comandante Jorge Briceno.
“I’m from Retorno, Guaviare and because of the massacres and displacements by the paramilitaries in my region, I took the decision to join the FARC”.
He joined at the age of 16 in 1981, in the 14th Front. He is member of the Central High Command of the FARC-EP and is part of the leadership of the Block Comandante Jorge Briceño.
“I entered the FARC-EP because of massacres and torture conducted by the army against farmers in my region”.
He joined on July 20, 1979, at the age of 16 in the third Front. He is member of the High Command of the Block Comandante Jorge Briceño.
“I entered the FARC-EP because I saw a lot of injustice committed by the State”.
He joined at the age of 18 in the year 1996, in the front Antonio Nariño of the Block Comandante Jorge Briceño.
“I joined the FARC-EP because in a country like ours, the struggle for justice is paid by the regime with repression and death. That is why the armed struggle is not an option but an urgent need until conditions change”.
(Another eight members had arrived one week earlier. Get to know them here)
…about the case Miguel Ángel Beltrán
Based on: www.prensarural.org
Professor Miguel Ángel Beltrán was arrested again.
The arrest is linked to a former process against him since 7 years ago for the crime of rebellion. His lawyer David Albarracín has denounced that Miguel Ángel Beltrán´s detention is the result of a court order that violates basic principles and procedural safeguards such as the presumption of innocence, the right to liberty and the right process.
The immediate restoration of his judicial guarantees and freedom is demanded, more so when there are ongoing peace talks, which, in order to be a successful and long-lasting, require full respect of the rule of law, intellectual divergence and political dissidency, products of civilization that are despised by this absurd judicial fraud against an academic, a critical thinker, a free and deliberative citizen like professor Beltrán.
His lawyer shared the following letter that Miguel Ángel sent to him and which he would want to be known by as many people as possible.
Comrades and friends,
Receive a warm and fraternal greeting.
Today I was again deprived of freedom, accused of rebellion, reviving the accusation of which I have been a victim based on illegal evidence and with an appeal pending for my case.
Although the government is talking about peace, critical ideas are still criminalized, as well as human rights defenders and social leaders, as we have seen recently.
My arrest was carried out in the recent context of the launching of my book about the armed conflict.
We continue in the struggle for the defense of critical ideas in order for the country to open up to peace with social justice.
I embrace you all,
Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas
July 31, 2015.