BOGOTA – The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of Colombia ordered on Thursday the capture of five Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents who had announced they were taking up arms against the government again.
The arrest warrant included the guerrilla’s former chief peace negotiator in Havana, Luciano Marin, aka “Ivan Marquez,” and Zeuxis Pausias Hernandez Solarte – better known by his nom de guerre “Jesus Santrich” – one of the main delegates at the peace conference and a sitting member of the Colombian lower house of Congress.
The high court’s Recognition Chamber revoked “the benefit of the suspension of arrests and paroles” for Marquez and Santrich, as well as for Henry Castellanos Garzon, aka “El Paisa,” Jose Vicente Lesmes, alias “Walter Mendoza” and Jose Manuel Sierra Sabogal, aka “Zarco Aldinever.”
Marquez, who was number two in the FARC and whose whereabouts have been unknown for more than a year, reappeared on Thursday in a video along with other former FARC leaders to announce that they were starting “a new phase of fighting” in response to the state’s “betrayal” of the agreement reached at Havana.
“The Chamber ordered the revocation of the suspension of arrests and paroles of those appearing in relation to case 1 that appear in the video (...) and in which they announce their rearmament,” the JEP said in a statement.
Case 1 is related to the kidnappings committed by members of the now-demobilized FARC before signing a peace treaty with the government in November 2016.
JEP’s ruling against Santrich follows an arrest warrant issued on July 9 by the Supreme Court of Justice, which had then asked Interpol to issue a Red Notice alert for his arrest after he failed to show up for a court hearing in a drug-trafficking case.
In addition, the United States has sought Santrich’s extradition for a drug trafficking incident that allegedly occurred after Dec. 1, 2016, when the peace agreement came into force.
The JEP also ordered the capture of Hernan Dario Velasquez Saldarriaga, who led the “Teofilo Forero Mobile Column” – among the most violent FARC sub-groups – and against whom the high court had already issued a warrant for non-compliance to commitments under its jurisdiction, related to crimes committed during the armed conflict.
The JEP had already initiated a verification process to determine the commitment to the peace agreement of the five former guerrilla leaders, a process that “will accelerate and also advance the identification” of the others who appeared in the video after having benefited from the agreement.
Marquez’s announcement, made in a 32-minute video, comes almost three years after the guerrillas and the government led by then-President Juan Manuel Santos (2010-18) signed a historic peace agreement.