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Colombia’s Constitutional Court Signs Off on Petro’s Peace Policy

Colombia’s constitutional court has rejected a far-right appeal to sink the peace policy of President Gustavo Petro.

The court did impose limits on Petro’s “Total Peace” policy to prevent abuses of power by the executive branch.

Two far-right lawmakers, Jose Jaime Uscategui and Maria Fernanda Cabal, had requested the court to revoke the Total Peace law, which allows the government negotiate with guerrillas and mafia organizations.

The court rejected the lawmakers’ claims, but limited the government’s ability to pardon convicts so they can mediate with illegal armed groups.

According to the court, the government can only appoint so-called “peace managers” and seek their excarceration after consulting the legislative and judicial branches.

The government made extradited former paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso a peace manager earlier this year so he could mediate the demobilization of paramilitary groups.

Mancuso has since accused Cabal’s husband, ranchers federation chief Jose Felix Lafaurie, of seeking paramilitary support for the 2005 election of former chief prosecutor Mario Iguaran.

The court did not revoke the appointment of Mancuso, who has served a sentence for drug trafficking in the United States.

Peace Commissioner Otty Patiño celebrated the court’s decision.

The decision is consistent with the jurisprudential history that recognizes presidential responsibility for peace. The guidelines of our government’s unprecedented peace policy, based on rapprochement and socio-legal talks with non-rebel groups, are validated.

As part of its peace policy, the government has begun formal peace talks with guerrillas of the ELN and EMC, a group that was formed by former members of the now-defunct guerrilla organization FARC.

The government has also begun peace processes involving organized crime groups in Medellin and Buenaventura , and has been seeking negotiations with paramilitary organizations AGC and “Los Pachenca.”

These initiatives are opposed by the far-right, which has been accused of teaming up with organized crime groups to defeat leftist insurgents and violently repress non-violent progressives.

Source : Colombia Reports