COLOMBIA President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced Wednesday, September 23, a key agreement that paves the way for an end to the conflict of more than 50 years.
In a joint statement, the president and the rebels, led by Rodrigo Londoño, alias Timoleón Jiménez or Timochenko, said they have overcome a significant obstacle to achieving a peace settlement, namely deciding on a formula to compensate victims and punish rebels for human rights abuses.
"We are going to make the most of justice for the victims and there will be no impunity," Santos said.
Rebels who confess to crimes and pay compensation to the victims will receive up to eight years in prison in a special area that is still to be determined, reports La Prensa.
The agreement includes the creation of a Truth Commission to investigates crimes and punish those responsible.
Those who refuse to recognize offenses and who are guilty will face sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Santos said that "we are going to achieve the maximum possible justice for the victims."
The announcement was made in Havana, where representatives of the government and the guerrillas have held talks for nearly three years to try to end more than half a century of confrontation between the parties.