The President of Colombia and the leader of the country’s largest Marxist rebel group, FARC, announced a deal Wednesday that could be the final breakthrough needed to bring the 50-year guerilla war that’s claimed more than 200,000 lives to an end. Peace negotiations between the two sides have been ongoing for several years and, despite progress, several major sticking points blocked a final push towards peace. On Wednesday, however, those disagreements appeared resolved as both sides “finally agreed on a framework for investigating rights abuses, punishing guerrillas for their involvement in those crimes and offering compensation to victims,” the Wall Street Journal notes.
The announcement of the deal came in a surprise meeting in Havana on Wednesday. Despite the numerous details that still need to be hammered out, both sides struck an optimistic postured, posing for pictures and issuing statements that peace was at last on the horizon. Here’s more on the deal from the New York Times:
The final deal is a compromise, in which those who confess to major violations of human rights or war crimes would receive punishments of up to eight years, according to two people familiar with the talks. The consequences would involve community service or labor that helps the victims of the war. They could also be subject to some limited form of detention, but it was not immediately clear what that would entail. The guerrillas would be obligated to confess their crimes to a truth commission, and failure to make full disclosure could result in more severe punishments.
“The president and the guerrillas [-], set a six-month deadline to sign a final agreement and the guerrillas agreed to begin handing over their weapons 60 days after a deal is signed,” according to the Times. “Detractors of the peace process have hammered at the justice issue, warning that the guerrillas would get off too lightly for atrocities, bombings and kidnappings in a war that has left deep scars. At the same time, critics of the government have warned that atrocities committed by the military would be overlooked as well.”