FARC disarmament complete
On June 27, the FARC disarmament process was completed in a historic ceremony held in the central town of Mesetas, Meta, a traditional stronghold of the guerrilla group. A UN mission verified the handover of 7,132 personal weapons that are now stored in special containers, ready to be shipped off and melted down. As envisaged by the Havana peace agreement, they will be used to build three monuments honouring the victims of the armed conflict.
Meanwhile, the UN monitoring mission has made progress in locating the 949 registered arms caches hidden across the country. According to its latest report, 660 of these caches have been identified and 456 are ready to be extracted and destroyed.
As of August 1, the 26 transitional camps will cease to exist, and demobilised FARC members officially begin their transition into civilian life. A second political mission spearheaded by the UN to accompany and monitor this process was approved by the Security Council on the morning of July 10 and will come into force by the end of September.
FARC prisoners enter third week of hunger strike
Just as the laying down of arms was completed, thousands of jailed guerrilla members went on hunger strike to demand the implementation of an amnesty law passed in December of 2016 as part of the Havana peace deal. FARC leader Jesús Santrich has joined in the strike, accusing the judicial system of discriminating against guerrilla prisoners. He stated that of the 3,400 FARC rebels who are eligible, only 837 have been granted amnesty and conditional release.
Timochenko health problems
After suffering a stroke, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as ‘Timochenko’, has said he is slowly recovering. The 58-year had been hospitalised in the city of Villavicencio on July 2, and was later flown out to Cuba where he’d already undergone treatment for his heart condition during the peace negotiations. “I would like to thank the Cuban doctors for their care and the Colombian people for their supportive messages,” Londoño announced in one of his latest tweets.
Kidnapped UN official released in southern Colombia
Harley López, an official of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was released on July 5 after he had been kidnapped two months earlier by dissident FARC groups in the southern province of Guaviare. López had been carrying out work related to the substitution of illicit crops in the region and was meeting with local farmers when he was taken captive on May 3.
Selection committee to appoint judges for Peace Jurisdiction by September
The five-member selection committee in charge of appointing officials to the new transitional justice institutions has published the selection criteria and application timeframes for the positions available. By September 26, the committee will have chosen the 51 Colombian judges that will sit on the Special Peace Tribunal, as well as the director of the Missing Persons Unit and the director of an investigative unit tasked with combating neo-paramilitary groups. Dates for the selection of the future truth commissioners are yet to be announced.