Colombia peace tribunal orders capture of ex-FARC leader

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A Colombian tribunal on Friday ordered the capture of a senior former FARC guerilla commander for violating a peace treaty that ended half a century of armed conflict.

It follows President Ivan Duque’s election last year on a pledge to roll back some aspects of the 2016 peace deal that saw FARC transformed into a political party - which he sees as too soft.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) was set up to try former combatants and hand out alternative sentences to prison time if they confess their crimes, compensate victims and pledge never to resort to violence again.

But in a shift away from leniency, it revoked the parole granted to Hernan Dario Velasquez Saldarriaga - also known as “El Paisa” - and ordered his detention.

Velasquez, who headed the former rebel group’s main elite force, is the first rebel leader to be sanctioned by the tribunal.

It canceled his parole after he failed to appear before the tribunal three times, including to answer over kidnappings.

The JEP also notified Interpol of its ruling, as Velasquez’s whereabouts have been unknown since last June.

Facing accusations of several murders and kidnappings, Velasquez left the southern jungle area where he was supposed to be re-entering society.

He left the area with FARC’s former chief peace negotiator Ivan Marquez. Both distanced themselves from the deal after rebel leader Jesus Santrich, wanted on drug trafficking charges in the US, was captured for extradition last April.

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