New Decree Should Free Colombia’s FARC Prisoners

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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 a threat to the implementation of Colombia’s peace accords, says InSight Crime. The Colombia Justice Ministry decree, issued last Friday, establishes the legal framework for suspending the judicial process and granting amnesties and pardons for the thousands of members of the demobilizing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The decree, which stands as a complement to last year’s amnesty law, stipulates that all cases must be processed within 10 days of a claim and established sanctions for judges that fail to do so.

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. Resolving the status of FARC prisoners had become a major stumbling block in implementing Colombia’s peace accords. The United Nations had condemned the Colombian government over its seemingly endless delays in releasing the prisoners.

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