What’s going on in Colombia? We felt we should look into this fascinating experiment in justice where new institutions have been set up after a controversial peace deal. The story is definitely not over, but this is our first ‘toe in the water’ and we expect to be back to look in more depth at what is happening.
To get up to speed, a little history: In 2016, Colombia’s government and the infamous left-wing guerrilla group FARC signed a peace agreement that brought to an end to that part of the country’s decades-long internal conflict. The deal won then-President Juan Manuel Santos a Nobel Peace Prize and started a quite complicated truth and reconciliation process which is set to continue for at least a decade.
That peace didn’t come easily though. Many Colombians are still asking whether the people and institutions that were entrusted with finding the truth and repairing the wrongs of the war – all those crimes that may have been committed by either FARC or the government – are actually equipped and able to do so.
We talked to Mariana Casij Peña from the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), an NGO which specializes in specialises in justice and transition after conflict, who told us about the challenges and peculiarities of the Colombian truth and reconciliation system. Plus, we enlisted our intern, Ilaria, to go on a research expedition to fill in some of the questions we had.