Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on July 25 intervened in the public hearing of the Constitutional Court to defend the Framework for Peace, a constitutional amendment that brought about peace talks with the FARC rebels. Rights groups, including the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), challenged the amendment because it vests the congress with the discretion to decide which acts of war are applicable to the justice system. According to the CCJ and Human Rights Watch (HRW), this discretion could lead to loopholes that allow violent criminals to escape justice. Santos defended the amendment as a vital prerequisite for peace, “Our commitment to the expectations and rights of the victims is serious,” Santos said. “It’s not about sacrificing justice to reach peace but how to achieve peace with the most justice.” The representative for the CCJ responded, “In this case the cure could end up being worse than the disease.” The Constitutional Court’s decision has not yet been released.
The Colombian Congress last year approved the new law by a vote of 63-3. In June of last year, Santos also signed legislation to compensate victims of the country’s armed conflict. International entities were also involved in the country’s violence. In December the representative to Colombia for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Christian Salazar, called for a peaceful solution to the country’s ongoing violence.