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Colombia Approves Creation of Special War Crimes Court

  • Associated Press

FILE - Lawmakers debate in Congress in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 30, 2016. They have approved the creation of special courts for the prosecution of war crimes, a key component of the historic peace agreement reached with the country's largest rebel group.

FILE - Lawmakers debate in Congress in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 30, 2016. They have approved the creation of special courts for the prosecution of war crimes, a key component of the historic peace agreement reached with the country's largest rebel group.

Lawmakers in Colombia have approved the creation of special courts for the prosecution of war crimes, a key component of the historic peace agreement reached with the country's largest rebel group.

The Senate voted 61-2 in favor of the tribunals after hours of debate on Monday.

The peace tribunals have been one of the most hotly contested elements of the accord.

Conservative opponents complain that rebels behind scores of atrocities will be spared jail time if they confess their crimes while human rights activists contend that modifications introduced into the legislation will prevent military officials from being punished for extrajudicial killings of civilians.

President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the tribunals' creation as "a great step in consolidating peace."

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