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Colombia grants amnesty to more than 3,000 FARC rebels

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday granted amnesty to more than 3,000 FARC rebels who committed non-serious offenses, such as illegal possession of weapons and sedition. File Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday granted amnesty to more than 3,000 FARC rebels who committed non-serious offenses, such as illegal possession of weapons and sedition. File Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

July 11 (UPI) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos issued a decree granting amnesty to more than 3,000 disarmed FARC militants who did not commit serious crimes as part of a peace agreement.

The decree on Monday is the third and final amnesty Santos signed. More than 7,400 disarmed FARC rebels who committed non-serious offenses, such as illegal possession of weapons and sedition, have been granted amnesty by the Colombian government under Santos. Those rebels are mostly living in 26 "reincorporation zones" throughout Colombia maintained by the United Nations in an effort to transition the militants into civilian life.

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Though it is the last amnesty decree Santos will sign, Colombian judges are authorized to grant amnesty to imprisoned FARC members depending on the case.

The United Nations Security Council on Monday voted to establish a new mission in Colombia that will oversee the implementation of the peace agreement between the government and FARC.

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"I welcome the adoption of the resolution that creates the second mission of the United Nations, who will be joining us on the road to peace," Santos said in a statement.

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In late June, the U.N. Mission in Colombia said FARC completed the disarmament process.

The FARC rebel group, officially the Revolutionary Army Forces of Colombia, plans on becoming a fully functioning political party once the disarmament process ends.

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More than 220,000 people have died and 5 million have been internally displaced due to the Colombian conflict since the FARC's Marxist-inspired founding in 1964. The militant rebel group has been involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping and other illicit activity to fund its insurgency.

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