Colombian President Duque states willingness on November 8 to detain pardoned FARC chief members
President Iván Duque stated during a televised interview in November 8 that he is willing to issue arrest warrants against prominent members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), pardoned following the peace deal enacted in December 2016. Duque stated that if former militant leaders Hernán Darío “el Paisa” Velásquez and Iván Márquez do not declare before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), he is willing to re-issue a warrant for their arrest. The JEP was set up in June 2018 in the framework of the peace agreement to review the judicial status of demobilized militants suspected of committing crimes. Duque further announced that he is willing to authorize the extradition of Jesús Santrich, a notorious FARC member who served as lead negotiator in the peace talks. Santrich was arrested in April after U.S. authorities presented evidence he took part in drug trafficking after the peace agreement was struck. Santrich was slated to take a seat in Congress to represent FARC’s political party.
While no concrete steps have been announced, Duque’s statement underscores ongoing challenges in the aftermath of the peace process. The fact that top FARC leaders are reluctant to submit themselves before relevant judicial authorities will undermine confidence in the peace settlement. Duque’s right-leaning government, which remains highly critical of the FARC deal, will view these instances as consequences of misguided proposals enacted by the previous administration. In turn, precedent suggests former and active militants alike will view Duque’s statements as threats, hence abstaining from following future initiatives for peace talks.