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Colombia's congress approves peace tribunals for ex FARC rebels

Colombia's congress approves peace tribunals for ex FARC rebels
From Reuters - November 28, 2017

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombias lower house of congress late on Monday backed a bill to regulate transitional justice under the nations peace deal with Marxist FARC rebels, including special tribunals that will try guerrilla leaders for war crimes.

The bill, which was approved with some modifications, is considered the cornerstone of the peace agreement signed last year between the government and the FARC, known until recently as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The special courts will mete out alternative sentences like landmine removal for ex-guerrilla leaders who are convicted of war crimes committed during the five-decade war. Under the peace deal, those convicted will not serve time in traditional jails.

The lower house made changes to the text agreed this month by the Senate, so it must now go for conciliation between the two chambers. Once there is agreement on alterations the bill will go to President Juan Manuel Santos to be signed into law.

With this step, we move towards peace: transitional justice guarantees the rights of the victims and establishes the basis for the reconciliation of Colombians, Santos said on Twitter.

Congress had until the end of the month to approve the law using a court-approved fast-track mechanism to reduce the number of required debates in an effort to implement the peace accord as quickly as possible.

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