Colombia: high court deals blow to peace process

The FARC rebels are on "high alert" following a May 17 ruling by Colombia's Constitutional Court, striking down congressional "fast track" authority for legislation related to the country's peace process. Under "fast track" rules, Colombia's Congress could only vote to approve or deny reforms related to implementing the peace process, rather than debating and voting on each point individually. The ruling comes less than two weeks before "D+180," the date marking 180 days from the start of the FARC demobilization process, by which time it was slated to be complete. (InSight Crime, May 19; TeleSur, May 18, Semana, May 17)

The United Nations, in charge of overseeing the guerillas' demobilization and disarmament, says the process will not be completed by D+180, May 31. The UN Mission in Colombia reported May 5 that it had received 1,000 of the 7,000 firearms that the FARC said were in the hands of its fighters. But hundreds of arms caches in remote jungle and mountain locations remain to be recovered. (Colombia Reports, May 8)

The high court ruling came as President Juan Manuel Santos was at the White House, where Donald Trump failed to endorse or even mention Colombia's peace process in his public comments—instead railing against Venezuela. In Colombia, the oversight is widely seen as a major breach in the decades-long bilateral alliance. (Colombia Report, May 18)