BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos launched on Tuesday a truth commission that will operate for three years and draft a report to issue recommendations for a peaceful coexistence in the Andean nation after decades of conflict.
“Today we are taking a new step toward truth,” Santos said at the Casa de Nariño, the official home and workplace of the president of Colombia, during a ceremony attended by the 11 members of the truth commission.
Santos said that the commission, selected by an independent committee, did not aim to “tell the official story” about the conflict, but rather to help elucidate what happened in the country during more than half a century of hostilities between the government and the now-disbanded FARC guerrillas.
Santos, however, acknowledged that “we will never know the whole truth.”
The creation of the truth commission was included in the November 2016 peace agreement signed by the Colombian government and the FARC.
The commission is led by Rev. Francisco de Roux and its members include journalist and historian Alfredo Molano Bravo and other experts such as Lucia Gonzalez Duque, Martha Cecilia Ruiz and Saul Alonso Franco.
The other members are retired army Maj. Carlos Guillermo Ospina, Alejandra Miller Restrepo, Maria Angela Salazar, Maria Patricia Tobon, Alejandro Valencia Villa and Carlos Martin Beristain, a Spanish physician and psychologist who is the only foreigner on the commission.
The commission is not meant to administer justice but rather to help search for the truth and to recognize the rights of the victims, who “are the central issue in the peace agreement with the FARC,” Santos said.