Justice deal with Colombia rebels will not please everyone: Santos

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2015 10:42 PM

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A deal with leftist FARC rebels on how they would be punished under a peace accord for crimes during Colombia's 51-year war will not please everyone, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Tuesday, as negotiators finalize talks on the point.

Santos has maintained that members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, must pay for human rights violations and other crimes in order for a peace deal to be signed. Guerrilla leaders have rejected the possibility of jail time.

"Not everyone will be pleased but I am sure that in the long-term this will be better, because it doesn't matter if some are discontented," Santos said. "No one can be completely satisfied, but the change will be very positive."

Government negotiators returned Tuesday to Havana, Cuba, where the nearly three-year-old peace talks are being held, "with precise instructions to continue advancing on the issue of justice."

Local media reported that a deal on the fraught point, one of five on the agenda, is imminent.

Santos has said that the unwillingness of rebel leadership to complete sentences - not necessarily in a prison - has been the biggest obstacle to a peace deal.

Negotiators have so far reached partial accords on land reform, political participation for ex-rebels and an end to the illegal drugs trade. The conflict between guerrilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and the government has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Kim Coghill)