Court declares Colombia 'peace' law constitutional

AP News
Posted: Aug 29, 2013 12:41 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian high court has declared constitutional a law the government says is key to its peace process with rebels but which rights activists say could lead to impunity for war crimes.

The Constitutional Court's president announced the 7-to-2 decision on Wednesday evening and said the law does not mean war crimes will go unpunished.

Congress passed the amendment last year at President Juan Manuel Santos' urging before peace talks were announced the Colombia's largest rebel group. It establishes that rebels can receive reduced or suspended prison sentences if they lay down their arms.

Human rights groups complain the amendment could allow combatants who violate international humanitarian law to escape justice.