Oct 12, 2017 | 19:28 GMT

2 mins read

Colombia: Supreme Court Shields the FARC Peace Deal

Forecast Update

In Stratfor's Fourth-Quarter Forecast, we said the Colombian government would be focused on trying to bring its peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia into effect before next year's presidential election. The Supreme Court order to protect the agreement from future presidents will help the process.

The peace process in Colombia has taken another step forward. On Oct. 11, Colombia's Supreme Court ruled that any Congress-approved legislation related to the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) couldn't be amended for the next 12 years. The ruling will prevent the next three Colombian presidents from changing approved parts of the peace agreement, meaning that even if a candidate from the opposition Democratic Center party, which strongly opposes the FARC peace deal, wins the 2018 presidential election, the deal will stand.

But the deal in its entirety isn't completely clear yet. Parts of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' increasingly fragmented ruling coalition oppose the agreement and are holding up the remaining legislation related to it. In fact, one of the leading presidential candidates, former Vice President German Vargas Lleras, is among those in opposition. Vargas Lleras' political party, Radical Change, announced Sept. 28 that it wouldn't vote for pending peace legislation to establish amnesty courts for FARC members, arguing that the process by which FARC members would surrender their assets needs better oversight.

Consequently, the Colombian government is preparing some changes to the amnesty law proposal to gain enough votes in Congress to approve the pending legislation. One change includes denying FARC members involved in illegal activities after the start of the demobilization process access to the amnesty courts. The government needs the votes from Vargas Lleras' Radical Change party to pass the remaining parts of the peace deal and to finally ensure that the peace legislation can't be changed by future administrations.

In short, the Supreme Court's ruling offered a shield to the Colombian government's FARC peace deal, but it only applies to proposals that have been approved by Congress. Now, the government will focus on speeding up the approval of pending peace legislation to prevent whoever comes to power in 2018 from amending the FARC peace deal.

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