Colombia congress adopts amnesty for rebels under peace pact

Associated Press | Published: 08:50, Dec 29,2016 | Updated: 17:03, Dec 29,2016

Colombia, FARC

In this March 11, 2009 file photo, a group of rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia attend a ceremony where they graduated as ‘peacemakers’ after they renounced the rebel group and the armed struggle, at La Picota prison in southern Bogota, Colombia. — AP photo

Both houses of Colombia's congress have approved legislation on amnesty for leftist rebels under the government's peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to end a half century of conflict.

The measure covers most offenses committed by fighters but it does not absolve any guerrillas who committed war crimes or human rights violations during a war that caused more than 220,000 deaths and displaced nearly 6 million Colombians.

The Chamber of Deputies passed the measure Wednesday morning, and the Senate followed suit later in the day.

Amnesty was a key step in implementing the peace deal, which calls for FARC fighters to begin disarming at UN-monitored camps across Colombia. Officials said Wednesday that 27 demobilisation sites are under construction.

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