Colombia’s President Iván Duque undermines a peace deal

IVÁN DUQUE won Colombia’s presidency last year on a promise to modify a peace deal between the government and the FARC guerrilla group, which ended their 52-year war in 2016. On March 10th this year Mr Duque kept that promise. In a televised speech he stated six objections to a law governing the operation of a tribunal, known as the JEP, that investigates and judges members of the FARC and the armed forces for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Although congress passed the law in 2017 and the constitutional court endorsed it, Mr Duque is sending it back to the legislature. “We want a peace that genuinely guarantees truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition,” he said. But his decision is a blow to the peace process.

This is the first time a Colombian president has reopened a legal question that had been settled by the constitutional court. It is not clear that congress has the power to change such a law for the reasons Mr Duque put forward, or that it will do so.

During his seven months in office, Mr Duque has tried to strike a balance between the hard line of his mentor, Álvaro Uribe, a former president who opposes the peace accord, and Colombians who want to preserve it. Now he seems to have backed Mr Uribe’s policy. The president wants former FARC members from lower ranks to go on trial and to ensure that the...

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