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Colombia to hear testimony from FARC commanders

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Colombia to hear testimony from FARC commanders

Colombia ForeignAffairs
Photo: Foreign Affairs

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)—the judicial system created by Colombia’s 2016 peace accord to try abuses connected to the country’s decades-long internal armed conflict—will initiate hearings today on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) record concerning the recruitment of children.

Despite FARC denying its role in enlisting minors, more than 7,400 minors are estimated to have been victims of forced recruitment. The peace agreement reached between the Colombian government and the FARC and the issuance of a national policy to prevent recruitment and sexual violence against children has not been able to stop these practices. Reports on the recruitment of minors by FARC dissidents and other illegal armed groups went up by 41.6% in 2019.

Today’s hearings present a major challenge for the JEP. The body is facing an increasing number of political obstacles to its judicial independence, including cuts to its operating budget, lack of commitment from former FARC commanders, and President Ivan Duque’s objections to the adopted laws governing transitional justice. However, within this context, the JEP is expected to set a precedent to the depth of an official investigation into the recruitment of minors in armed conflicts in Colombia.

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