Ex-FARC offers JEP court info on missing kidnapped persons

The eight former commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla, and current members of Comunes political party, have handed-over to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) information regarding the location of 55 persons listed by the government as missing, yet who died while in their captivity.

The decision to disclose the locations of civilians and members of the Armed Forces who were hostages of the Marxist guerrilla, gives the tribunal’s Search Unit for Missing Persons (UBPD), the possibility to exhume human remains for forensic identification.

As part of the 2016 Peace Accord, FARC ex-combatants must cooperate with the transitional court JEP in on-going investigations relating to forced disappearances, kidnappings, murder and other crimes punishable under international law. The order for the members of the ex-Secretariat to provide detailed information on missing persons comes four months after the demobilized guerrilla accepted the court’s charges that they committed War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. By accepting the accusation, FARC’s former senior command face either reduced prison terms (3 to 8 years) or a general pardon by the magistrates.

Ex-FARC have expressed willingness to speed up the process of locating and identifying “those who were left along the road (to peace),” stated FARC’s former top commander Rodrigo Londoño and known by his wartime alias “Timochenko.” JEP’s Case 001 formally charged ex-FARC for the kidnapping of 21,396 persons, the majority taken between 1998 – 2008, and decade that marked the height of the internal conflict.

Ex-FARC have information on what happened to at least 192 of their hostages.

Case 001 marks a historic ruling on practices and events involving Colombia’s half-century-long armed conflict, that also claimed the lives of 260,000. The UN’s Verification Mission in Colombia welcomed Thursday former FARC’s commitments within the framework of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. “All the events of war are painful. But one of the most painful, is the issue of the disappeared. Today we reiterate our commitment to contribute to all cases of disappearances,” remarked Londoño at the hearing.