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Colombia's Congress passes FARC amnesty law


12-29-2016 14:57 BJT

Colombia's Congress has passed a law granting amnesty to FARC rebels as part of the country's peace deal. This is a development the government has hailed as "historic." 

"It means that the path is clear to guarantee the demobilization and disarmament of FARC members in the first quarter of next year. It is no more and no less than the end of a 52-year conflict with the FARC. The FARC's abandonment of arms is now in the hands of the United Nations so that the entire process of implementing the accords can begin," said Juan Fernando Cristo, Colombian interior minister.

The law, a key part of a peace deal signed last month between the government and FARC rebels, will not include fighters who have committed war crimes or human rights violations.

The amnesty also applies to members of the country's military. However, former president Alvaro Uribe and his allies argue the deal grants impunity to rebels guilty of war crimes, giving them seats in Congress rather than sending them to prison. 

''We're against this bill. To be able to continue in military garrisons they have to accept being subjected to special justice,"  said Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president.

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