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Abstract

After years of negotiations, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have reached an unprecedented peace agreement. The agreement, rooted in transitional justice, contains a strong and nuanced focus on political amnesty for rebel forces. The scope and nature of the agreement has garnered international attention and praise. Of particular interest is whether the amnesty provision under the peace agreement is compatible with international law. This legal brief tracks the contours of existing international law on amnesty for political crimes—specifically under Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions—to analyze this compatibility. The conclusion is that all relevant sources of international law—including the Rome Statute, United Nations (UN) statements, and decisions of the Inter-American Human Rights System—support the granting of amnesty for political crimes as proposed in the Colombian peace accord.

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