Colombian leader asks Congress to pass key peace process law
BOGOTA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday called on Congress to approve a key piece of legislation for the ongoing peace process.
The call to pass a bill that enshrines the procedures of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) came after the Senate moved to postpone the vote.
"I want to call on Congress again to approve this procedure, to approve this law, so that the JEP can operate normally and swiftly," Santos said in a statement.
The JEP, considered the backbone of the peace process, was created as part of the peace agreement between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group to serve as a special judicial body for cases involving former guerrillas.
"We owe it to the victims, but we also owe it to the international community that gave so much support to Colombia, to the United Nations that gave so much support to Colombia to reach this peace that must be stable and lasting," said Santos.
Santos spearheaded the efforts to forge a peace agreement with the guerrillas to end five decades of fighting, and won a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in it.
However, the rebels' transition process is still ongoing and uncertainty looms as Colombia's recent presidential elections were won by Ivan Duque, a politician opposed to the deal.
Lawmakers who support Duque said they wanted to put off the vote until after July 20, when the new Congress convenes.
Santos acknowledged the changing political makeup in Congress, but said "peace must be above any party and any political dispute."