Defeat terrorists, don’t reward them!
19 noviembre, 2016
The rule of law matters, it is after all the foundation of democracy. The principle belief is that one must be duly punished for one’s misdemeanors by independent courts, acting on behalf of current laws approved by governmental and legislative branches, is essential to the preservation of justice. Benjamin Franklin once said: “justice will not be served until those unaffected are as outraged as those who are” – seemingly not everyone is yet wholeheartedly outraged by FARC’s crimes, but we certainly are. We believe that negotiating with terrorists and any approximation with FARC is fundamentally immoral. The suffering endured by the Colombian people must not be forgotten and cannot morally go unpunished. The rejection of the initial FARC agreement by the Colombian electorate was an important step in the defense of democracy and must be continued.
The new FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) Peace Agreement differs from the old agreement on 56 out of 57 grounds, however, it does not incorporate one of the main concern of the electorate; FARC representation in senate and chamber. A such move is deemed controversial in that Colombia’s constitution currently does not allow citizens with criminal records to run for any official positions. FARC members to be formally represented do not necessarily have a criminal record, but they ought to. The new FARC deal by no means guarantees post-agreement peace. There is a great chance the FARC will fraction into a moderate camp, supporting the agreement, and a conservative camp firmly believing in the militant ways of the past. This potential FARC division must necessarily mean the disarmament of FARC will, in reality, be extremely challenging to carry out if the agreement were to be signed.
Justice must be served, even to former FARC members. No jail means no justice. Moreover, letting FARC members go untouched would be an outright insult to the many victims. We vividly remember Martha Luz Amarocho’s statement after the FARC assassinated her son; “there is nothing, there is no one, I will never get another hug from my son” – sadly, the government and part of the Colombian electorate do not feel the pain of these affected families.
FARC’s financial and military assets are derived from decades of clandestine activities. One important and often forgotten point is that many years have passed with a status quo in FARC-controlled areas, meaning the rightful owners of land(s) and victims as a whole may be remarkably challenging to track down. The FARC members willing to confess their crimes will, even after the agreement is ratified, remain within the same local communities and villages. Thereby they will represent a menace to the new and/or rightful owners of the property assets scheduled to be stripped from the FARC. Unfortunately, this scenario seems more likely than not.
The punishment must fit the crime, however, any FARC agreement neglects this basic principle. Victims’ opinion is being largely undermined by the new agreement as it essentially lets criminals get away with their crimes – let alone giving them guaranteed representation in congress and chamber. We stand with Colombian victims in defense of justice and their nation’s democracy and firmly believe terrorists mustn’t be granted amnesty – no to terror, yes to peace!
Written by: Fiona Catherine Krogh Gerson, Cassandra Bakketeig Thomassen, Isadora Clough, Sebastían Berko and Pedro Esteban.