Colombian rebels say they share blame for decades of bloodshed

Discussions to end the longest and last-remaining armed conflict in Latin America began last November

Colombian soldiers guard the bodies of Farc guerillas in Popayan earlier this month. Photograph: Jaime Saldarriaga

Colombian soldiers guard the bodies of Farc guerillas in Popayan earlier this month. Photograph: Jaime Saldarriaga

Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 20:12

Colombia’s Farc guerrilla movement has for the first time accepted partial responsibility for decades of bloodshed and has called for a commission to investigate the causes of the armed conflict that has killed more than 200,000.

Yesterday’s admission from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia followed a similar one by the Colombian government last month and appeared to mark some progress in peace negotiations that have dragged on for nine months in Havana while fighting continues in Colombia.

“The Farc are aware that up to now there have not been victors nor vanquished and the struggle continues,” said a statement, read by rebel negotiator Pablo Catatumbo on the sidelines of the talks.

“Without a doubt there has also been cruelty and pain provoked by our forces.”

The Colombian government and other sectors of society have accused the Farc, which has an estimated 8,000 members, of evading its responsibility for the bloodshed and displacement of millions of people over the years.

In July a government commission blamed the government, rebels and right-wing paramilitary forces for the carnage and suffering the conflict has caused.

President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged at the time that the Colombian state was responsible for serious violations of human rights during the conflict.


Peace talks
Discussions to end the longest and last-remaining armed conflict in Latin America began last November.

The two sides, which are working through a five-point agenda, have so far only reached partial agreement on agrarian reform.

Negotiators are now discussing the Farc’s inclusion in the political system and will then move on to reparations to war victims, the drugs trade and an end to the conflict.

– (Reuters)