Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront
On the 23rd of June 2016 the delegations of the National Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Army of the People (FARC-EP) jointly announced a set of accords addressing most of the remaining points on the agenda of peace negotiations between the respective parties, which stipulate how some of the most problematic aspects of the concrete measures to be taken to implement a final peace agreement will be resolved. While many Colombians remain doubtful as to the prospects for a conclusive and durable peace in their country, the announcement is unquestionably of major significance and has increased the sense of optimism among many that peace may finally be a real possibility, particularly among the sectors of society that have been most affected by the latest phase of the social and armed conflict in Colombia which has variously simmered and raged for over fifty years.
Joint Communique: Accord Concerning a Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and the Laying Down of Arms, Security Guarantees and Approval by the People
23 June 2016
The delegations of the National Government and the FARC-EP would like to announce that we have arrived at accords on the following points:
- Accord concerning “Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms”
- Accord concerning “Security guarantees and the fight against the criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or that threaten human rights defenders, social movements or political movements, including the organizations that have been designated as successors of paramilitarism and their networks of support, and the persecution of all criminal conduct that threatens the implementation of the accords and the construction of peace”
- Accord concerning “Approval of the People”
I. Accord concerning a Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and the Laying Down of Arms
The National Government and the FARC-EP express their commitment to contribute to the emergence of a new culture that condemns the utilization of arms in the exercise of politics and to work together to achieve a national consensus in which all political, economic and social sectors are committed to political conduct in which the values of democracy, the free play of ideas, and civilized debate are dominant; in which there is no place for intolerance and persecution for political reasons. This commitment constitutes part of the guarantee of non-repetition of the events that contributed to the armed confrontation between Colombians for political reasons.
Finally, the National Government and the FARC-EP hereby commit themselves to the fulfilment of everything agreed to in these accords with respect to a Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and the Laying Down of Arms, for which they will elaborate a roadmap and schedule consistent with their mutual commitments so that no more than 180 days after the signing of the Final Accord the process of laying down arms will be completed.
The objective of the present Accord concerning a Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and the Laying Down of Arms is the definitive termination of offensive actions between the Public Forces and the FARC-EP, and in general the end of hostilities and any other action envisaged in the rules that govern the Bilateral and Definitive Cease Fire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms, including their effects on the civil population, and in this way create conditions for the commencement of the implementation of the Final Accord and the Laying Down of Arms and preparing the institutions and the country for the Reincorporation of the FARC-EP to civil life.
3. Monitoring and Verification
We agree to create a Monitoring and Verification Mechanism which will be a tripartite mechanism, comprising representatives of the National Government (Public Forces), the FARC-EP, and an International Component consisting of a political mission with unarmed observers of the United Nations principally made up of observers from member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The International Component will preside over all instances and activities of the Monitoring and Verification Mission and is charged with addressing controversies, presenting recommendations and producing reports.
With respect to the Laying Down of Arms the International Component will verify this in accordance with the terms and due guarantees established in the protocols of the Accord.
4. On-site adaptation of dispositions
From the day D + 1 the Public Forces will reorganize the disposition of their troops to facilitate the movement of the structures of the FARC-EP to the designated Zones and for the fulfilment of the Accord concerning the Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms.
For its part, from the day D + 5, the distinct missions, commissions and Tactical Combat Units of the fronts of the FARC-EP will relocate to the Zones previously agreed upon, following the routes established by common agreement between the National Government and the FARC-EP.
5. Transitional Adjustment Zones for Normalization (hereafter “Zones”)
The National Government and the FARC-EP agree to establish 23 Transitional Adjustment Zones for Normalization and 8 Encampments.
The objective of the Transitional Adjustment Zones for Normalization is to guarantee the Bilateral and Definitive Cease Fire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms and initiate the process of preparation for the Reincorporation into civil life of the structures of the FARC-EP in economic, political and social spheres according to their interests.
These Zones are territorial, temporary and transitory. Each Zone will be supported by Local Monitoring Teams. They will be accessible by road or river transport routes, their boundaries will correspond to the boundary of the district where they are located; they can be expanded or reduced by mutual agreement depending on the size of the zone, they will have a reasonable extension that will permit monitoring and verification of the fulfilment of the objectives of the Zones, fixing geographical features or characteristics of the terrain as reference points.
The departure of combatants of the FARC-EP from the encampments will be without arms and as civilians.
The National Government and the FARC-EP commit themselves to ensuring that the implementation of this Accord will not limit in any way the normal functioning of the unarmed civilian authorities, in the development and management of the economic, political and social activities in the regions, in the lives of the communities, in the exercise of their rights, or in the activities of the communal, social and political organizations that have a presence in the territories.
The (unarmed) civil authorities that have a presence in the Zones will remain there and will continue to exercise their functions in these areas, without prejudice to the points agreed upon in the Accord concerning the Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities. The zones cannot be utilized for demonstrations of a political nature.
The members of the FARC-EP who in virtue of the amnesty law will benefit from exemption from imprisonment will, if they so wish, be integrated in the Zones to continue the process of reincorporation into civil life. For this purpose, specific areas will be organized within the Zones for sojourns outside the encampments.
For the duration of the Accord concerning the Bilateral and Definitive Cease Fire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms; the FARC-EP will designate a group comprising 60 of its members (men and women) who can travel within the country to undertake tasks pertaining to the Peace Accord.
In the same way, for each Zone, the FARC-EP will designate a group comprising 10 of its members who can travel within the municipality and the province to undertake tasks pertaining to the Peace Accord. In the course of such journeys the members of the FARC-EP will be protected pursuant to security measures agreed with the National Government.
In the encampments there will not be members of the civil population, nor can they enter at any time.
For the duration of the Zones the right of the civil population to possess and carry arms within the Zones will be suspended.
In case some fact or event occurs within a Zone that requires the presence of the National Police or any other armed authority of the State, this will be done informing the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, so that the entry can be coordinated in accordance with the protocols agreed by the National Government and the FARC-EP.
The location of the encampments within the Zones will be arranged in such a manner that the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism can exercise its functions.
In the development of the process of preparation for reincorporation of its combatants into civil life, the FARC-EP in coordination with the National Government will be able to realize all types of capacitation of its members in productive labours within the Zones, of primary, secondary or technical qualification, according to their interests, days of documentation and other preparatory activities for their reincorporation, as well as other activities necessary to facilitate the transition of the FARC-EP to legality.
1.5. Security Zone
Around each Zone a Security Zone shall be established where neither units of the Public Forces, nor personnel of the FARC-EP, can be present, with the exception of the monitoring and verification teams accompanied by police security personnel when the circumstances require. The width of the Security Zone will be of one kilometre around each Zone.
The National Government and the FARC-EP will jointly define security protocols, which will permit, in an integral manner, the minimization of potential threats that could affect or place at risk the people and possessions covered by the Bilateral and Definitive Cease Fire, Cessation of Hostilities and Laying Down of Arms.
The security conditions implemented will guarantee the protection of the members of the monitoring and verification teams, the members of the FARC-EP, the delegates of the National Government, the Public Forces and other participants in the process. They will also cover the coordination of the presence of their personnel and their activities in the area.
The National Government will continue to guarantee the conditions of coexistence and security of the civil population through the Public Forces during this process.
1.7. Laying Down of Arms
The Laying Down of Arms will comprise a technical, identifiable and verifiable procedure through which the United Nations will receive the totality of the weaponry of the FARC-EP, which will be used for the construction of three monuments, as agreed by the National Government and the FARC-EP.
The Laying Down of Arms by the FARC-EP will be carried out over two periods, denominated Control of Armament and Laying Down of Arms, which will consist of the following technical procedures: registration, identification, monitoring and verification of possession, collection, storage, extraction and final disposal.
With the signing of the final accord the process for the Laying Down of Arms by the FARC-EP will commence, which will include the transportation of weaponry to the zones, the destruction of unstable weaponry, and the collection and storage of individual weapons containers in a sequential manner and in three phases in the following manner. Phase 1: D + 90, 30%. Phase 2: D + 120, 30%. Phase 3: the remaining 40%, in accordance with the roadmap (chronogram of events) agreed between the National Government and the FARC-EP which will guide the process for the End of the Conflict following the signing of the Final Accord.
The FARC-EP will contribute by way of different means, including the provision of information, to the cleaning and decontamination of territories affected by antipersonnel mines, improvised explosive artefacts, and unexploded munitions or remains of other explosives generally, taking into account the matters agreed in Points 4 and 5 and any other matters as agreed in the Point pertaining to Reincorporation into civil life in terms of the participation of the FARC-EP in the demining actions.
In order to guarantee effective control of the weaponry in each Zone one single storage point will be determined, within one of the encampments, where the containers will be located under the permanent monitoring and verification of the International Component of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, in accordance with the protocols arranged by the National Government and the FARC-EP.
Having received the weaponry on the day D + 150, at the latest on day D + 180 the process for the extraction of arms by the United Nations will be finalized, in conformity with the procedures agreed for this matter, and the fulfilment of the terms of this accord will be certified by the United Nations who will proceed to communicate this fact to the National Government and to public opinion.
On the day D + 180 the functioning of the Zones and the Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities will be terminated.
The Monitoring and Verification Mechanism will certify and will communicate their findings with respect to each of the phases of the aforementioned procedure for the laying down of arms.
Finally, on the basis of the accord that we have announced today, and pursuant to Resolution 2261, the National Government and the FARC-EP request that the Secretary-General of the United Nations put into place all of the preparations necessary for the deployment of the Special Political Mission, in such a way that the implementation of the present accord can be implemented.
2. Accord Concerning “Security Guarantees and the fight against the criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or that threaten human rights defenders, social movements or political movements, including the organizations that have been designated as successors of paramilitarism and their support networks, and the prosecution of all criminal conduct that threatens the implementation of the accords and the construction of peace”
This accord is directed to providing protection and security for all of the inhabitants of the national territory; protective measures for all social and human rights collectives in the territory; guarantees for the free exercise of political activities by political parties and movements, especially those that make up the opposition, and by the political movement that emerges from the transition of the members of the FARC-EP to legal political activity in the process of reincorporation into civil life.
Additionally, it contemplates the implementation of the measures necessary to intensify in an integral manner the effectiveness of actions against the criminal organizations and criminal conduct the object of this accord that threaten the construction of peace. The accord also includes measures for the clarification of the phenomenon of paramilitarism as a complementary measure to the matters already agreed in Point 5.
The accord concerning security guarantees is based on the following principles:
2.1. Respect, guarantees, protection and promotion of human rights
2.2 Ensuring the legitimate monopoly of force and the use of arms by the State in all of the national territory
2.3. Strengthening of the administration of justice
2.4. Ensuring the monopoly of the Public Treasury over the payment of taxes and tributes
2.5. Territorial and differentiated focus
2.6. Focus on gender
2.7. Coordination and territorial responsibility
2.8. Citizens’ Participation
2.9. Submission of accounts
2.10. Guarantees of Non-Repetition
To fulfil these purposes, the National Government and the FARC-EP commit themselves to:
- The National Government will guarantee the implementation of the measures necessary to intensify the effectiveness of actions against criminal organizations and conduct the object of this accord that threaten the construction of peace. Moreover, it will ensure the protection of all communities in the national territory that renounce any type of nexus between politics and the use of arms, and that comply with the principles that govern all democratic societies.
- The FARC-EP for its part assumes the commitment to contribute in an effective manner to the construction and consolidation of peace, in every way that is within its capabilities, and to promote the contents of the accords and respect for fundamental rights.
The security and protective measures defined by the accord have been constructed upon five fundamental pillars with a territorial focus:
- A National Political Pact supported by regional components with political parties and movements, business associations, organized society and the social forces of the nation generally so that they never again utilize arms for political objectives nor promote violent organizations such as paramilitarism. This pact will seek national reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.
- A National Commission of Security Guarantees that will be presided over by the President of the Republic and will have as its objective the design and supervision of public and criminal life in terms of the dismantling of any organization or conduct covered by this accord. The Commission will also harmonize the relevant policies to guarantee their execution.
- A Special Investigation Unit within the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation for dismantling the criminal organizations and their support networks, which have been denominated successors of paramilitarism in conformity with the definition established in numeral 74 of the accord concerning Special Jurisdiction for Peace. This Unit will be supported by a special unit of judicial police with experts in relevant matters.
- In the development of the matters agreed in Point 2 (Political Participation), the creation of an Integral System of Security for the Exercise of Politics that will develop a model of guarantees for citizenship rights and the protection of political parties and movements, including the political movement or party that emerges from the transition of the FARC-EP to civil life, social and human rights organizations, and communities in the national territory. The System will include within the National Protection Unit a mixed protective entity to provide protection for the members of the FARC-EP in the process of reincorporation into civil life.
- An Integral System of Security and Protection for the communities and organizations in the national territory which will have as its purpose the definition and adoption of integral protective measures for the organizations, groups and communities in the respective territories.
The accord will also include the following complementary measures:
- The design and implementation of a policy to subject the criminal organizations the object of this accord to justice.
- The activation of an elite unit of the National Police as an instrument to dismantle the criminal organizations the object of the accord.
- An instrument of prevention and surveillance of the criminal organizations; it will be a system of anticipation and prevention capable of rapid response, oriented to guaranteeing more effective identification of threats within the national territory and ensuring the Public Forces act with greater impact in order to contain these threats.
- Protective measures and a campaign against corruption: directed to strengthening institutional transparency.
3. Accord concerning “Approval of the People”
The Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP are going to resolve the differences that have arisen concerning this matter. On this day, in the development of the agenda for the General Accord for the Termination of the Conflict, we have agreed to invoke as a guiding formula the decision to be proffered by the Constitutional Court concerning the scope of the project forwarded by the relevant Law of 2015 (statute 156 of the House of Representatives, 94 of the Senate), in accordance with the spirit announced up to this time. In this respect, we accept the mechanism of popular participation as determined by the Court and in accordance with the terms stipulated by it.
* Translated to English by the author