By Gerson Iván Árias and Carlos Andrés Prieto, Institute for Integrated Transitions

EL ESPECTADOR, September 3, 2020

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

This historic process began with a secret phase between September of 2010 and February of 2012, and ended on September 26 of 2016 with the formal signing of the Final Agreement in Cartagena. Later came the plebiscite with the triumph of NO, and the signing of the revised Agreement with those who won the referendum. This is the second chapter of the book that came out this month with the anniversarial title: “Lessons on the end of the conflict in Colombia; laying down arms and the FARC’s transition to the rule of law”.

Time line on the Peace Agreement in Colombia

In this time sequence we can see the milestones of the conversations that gave rise to the Peace Agreement signed between the Juan Manuel Santos government and the now-defunct FARC guerillas in November of 2016. At the same time, you will see the milestones of the implementation of the laying down of arms and the accreditation (D&A). Source: “Lessons on the end of the conflict in Colombia”.

The secret phase (September 2010 to February 2012)

  • February 23, 2012: The exploratory phase begins in Havana.
  • February 26,  2012: The FARC announce the suspension of kidnapping for economic reasons.
  • April 30, 2012: Crisis in the conversation over laying down of arms and accreditation.
  • September 4, 2012: Formal public announcement of a General Agreement or the Agreement Framework.
  • October 2012: the Conversation Group is installed in Norway.

The public phase and the commencement of the conversations in Havana (Cuba)

  • July 2013: the Regional Advisory Board for the peace conversations presents a proposal for the laying down of arms and accreditation.
  • June 2014: Announcement of the creation of the Subcommittee for the End of the Conflict.
  • August 2014: The Subcommittee for the End of the Conflict is formally installed.
  • August 2014: The Strategic Transition Command (COET) is created.
  • October 2014: The military commanders of the FARC are transferred from Colombia to Havana to make up the Subcommittee.
  • December 2014: The FARC declare an indefinite unilateral ceasefire.
  • March 2015: Commencement of the formal activities of the Subcommittee on the End of the Conflict.
  • April 2015: The FARC attack a military unit in Buenos Aires (Cauca Province). Eleven Colombian soldiers are killed. El Espectador newspaper went to the town (vereda) of La Esperanza, in Buenos Aires, the scene of the FARC attack that left eleven soldiers dead. See “You Could Hear The Screams for Help”.
  • May 2015: The Colombian Armed Forces and the Police bomb an encampment of the FARC in Cauca, and 27 guerrillas are killed.
  • July 2015: Issuance of a joint communiqué: “Acceleration in Havana and de-escalation in Colombia”. The UN is mentioned for the first time.
  • November 12, 2015: The Subcommittee for the End of the Conflict meets with the United Nations Secretary-General’s delegate, Jean Arnault and with the delegate for the President pro tem of UNASUR, José Bayardí.
  • November 22, 2015: 30 imprisoned former members of the FARC are pardoned.
  • December 2015: Agreement on victims is achieved and includes a broad package of measures in the area of transitional justice.
  • January 2016: The Subcommittee formally issues a report to the parties on the progress of its work. In that same month, the parties announce publicly their decision to create a tripartite System for Monitoring and Verification (MM&V), including Cease Fire and Laying Down of Arms.
  • January 25, 2016: The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 2261 by which it approves a political mission in Colombia.
  • February 2016: There is an incident in the District (corregimiento) of El Conejo (Guajira Province) in which the instructional visits by guerrilla commanders in certain areas were cancelled.
  • April 2016: The National Police Unit for Building the Peace (UNIPEP) is created.
  • May 2016: The delegations announce publicly their agreement on children 15-years-old and younger leaving the FARC encampments.
  • June 23, 2016: Agreement is reached on the bilateral cease-fire and the bilateral and definitive end of hostilities and laying down of arms.
  • July 2016: The Inter-Agency Technical Committee for the Verification of Lists is created.
  • August 2016: The first visits are made to assess possible Normalization Zones.
  • August 24, 2016: The government and the FARC reach a Final Agreement.
  • September 2016: New joint technical visits are made to eventual Normalization Zones.
  • September 11, 2016: A significant part of the FARC organization have traveled progressively to several Temporary Gathering Points (PPT).

Formal signing of the Final Agreement in Cartagena (September 26, 2016)

  • The Chancellors of Spain and Norway and a delegation of 2,000 people, including victims of the conflict, guerrillas, national and international politicians, and Directors of multilateral agencies attended the ceremony, among others.  See “Llegó el momento, Santos y Timochenko le pusieron la firma a la paz”.

The Plebiscite for Peace and what came after it (October 2016-2017)

  • October 2, 2016: This was the date of the referendum on the Final Agreement. The Agreement was not approved and there was an abstention of 62.6%. See “En el plebiscito de los niños, ganó el SI”.
  • October 7, 2016: The government and the FARC issued a communiqué from Havana announcing a decision to maintain the cease-fire and make adjustments and clarifications to the Final Agreement.
  • October 20, 2016: The government issued Decree No. 1647 officially establishing the Temporary Gathering Points (PPT).
  • November 14, 2016: A new Final Agreement is reached.
  • November 24, 2016: The New Agreement is signed in the Colón Theater in Bogotá.
  • November 29, 2016: Congress approves the New Final Agreement.

Milestones in the implementation of the laying down of arms and accreditation (from December 2016 – August 2017)

  • December of 2016 – March 2017: Collection of information for the construction of lists in charge of the FARC.
  • December 7, 2016: Twenty-seven decrees are issued with the purpose of legally establishing each of the Transitional Normalization Zones (ZVTN) and the  Temporary Normalization Gathering Points (PTN).
  • December 13, 2016: The FARC issue a communiqué in which they officially announce the decision to remove five mid-level commanders from their ranks.
  • January – August, 2017: Departure of and care for minors who had served in the FARC.
  • January 17, 2017: A meeting in the Yari Plains is carried out to define pending matters related to the ZVTN and the PTN.
  • January 28 – February 10, 2017: Thirty-six routes for permitted travel of members of the FARC from the Temporary Normalization Gathering Points to the ZVTN and PTN are planned and carried out.
  • January – February 2017: Registration of combatants entering the ZVTN. See “Las Farc hacia su desarme con un poco más de esperanza”.
  • February – August 2017: Verification and accreditation of the lists of individuals in custody. During this same period, the FARC’s lists are being verified.
  • March 2017: The UN Verification Mission commences its work of verifying the laying down of arms process.
  • March – August 2017: Procedures for complete identification of members of the FARC and getting each one a cédula (personal ID).
  • March – September 2017: Procedure for removing weapons and unstable destructive materials found in caches belonging to the FARC and in the custody of the United Nations.
  • May 2017: Carrying out a socio-economic census to characterize the members of the FARC. At the same time, the laying down of arms and accreditation of prioritized groups is continued.
  • May 29, 2017: The Committee for Follow-Up, Impetus, Verification, and Implementation of the Peace Agreement (CSIVI) issues a schedule for the final laying down of arms and accreditation.
  • June 7, 2017: Completion of laying down of arms and accreditation of the first 30% of combatants.
  • June 14, 2017: The second 30% of combatants continue to lay down their arms and are accredited.
  • June 20, 2017: The remaining 40% of combatants lay down their arms and are accredited.
  • June 27, 2017: Laying down of arms and individual accreditation is completed.
  • June – July 2017: Remaining groups lay down their arms.
  • August 2017: FARC finish delivery of the list of those who have transitioned to legality.
  • August 1-August 15, 2017: Extraction  of containers from the transitional zones.

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