Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia by bua69970


									                                                                                            Liliana Anaya

Individual demobilization and
reintegration process in Colombia:
implementation, challenges and
former combatants’ perspectives
Liliana Anaya

After decades of armed con£ict, the Colombian            (Colombia’s War on Children, 2004). In
government has implemented a voluntary individual        2003 the government designed a comprehen-
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration            sive, long-term state policy, dubbedthe‘Demo-
programme (DDR) This paper is based on                   cratic Security and Defence Policy (2003).’ The
interviews of former combatants from illegal armed       main objective of this policy is to strengthen
groups, from both the left and right, governmental       the rule of law in Colombia and to better
o⁄cials, and military personnel involved in the          guarantee citizens their rights and liberties.
processes. The ¢ndings of this research suggest that     In order to achieve this goal, the government
the individual demobilization process as a military      has placed an emphasis on the need to defeat
strategy is a success. However, in order to strengthen   the illegal armed groups. By this it means
the peace-building process, the programme needs to       reducing the military capability of the guer-
give more support to the socialization and re-           rilla and paramilitary groups, and bringing
socialization processes that former combatants           an end to the illegal drug trade.
experience. It needs to provide the former combatants    As part of this security policy, the govern-
with the skills needed to be economically and socially   ment is o¡ering the possibility for comba-
productive members of society. This will help them       tants to demobilize individually, or collec-
rede¢ne their identity as civilians and undergo a        tively, and then reintegrate into civilian life.
successful reintegration and reconciliation.             The collective demobilization is framed in a
                                                         peace agreement between the armed groups
Keywords: ex-combatants, peace-building,
                                                         andthe government. However, the voluntary
reconciliation, reintegration, re-social-
                                                         demobilization process intends to reduce
                                                         the military capacity of the illegal armed
                                                         groups, by reducing their manpower and by
Introduction                                             gathering military information to stop their
After more than 40 years of armed con£ict                illegal actions. Currently, the illegal armed
and several negotiation attempts, the Colom-             groups are comprised of approximately
bian government has taken an anti-insur-                 22 000 guerrilla members and 6 000 parami-
gency containment approach. This military                litary members (Gonzales, 2003).
solution aims to end a con£ict that has pro-             The programmes for the individual demobi-
duced morethan 200 000 refugees,2.5 million              lization that the Colombian government is
internally displaced persons, and more than              implementing aim to reduce the power of
60 000 civilian casualties in recent years               the armed groups, leaving them with a

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

negotiated solution as the only alternative             a process whose ultimate goal is the reinte-
(Bernal, 1996). Demobilization is, therefore,           gration to civilian life of any member of the
perceived as a con£ict resolution method,               illegal armed organizations. The members
rather than a post con£ict process. Few cases           of illegal armed organizations must intend
exist in which demobilization processes are             to be part of the peace process and have
being implemented under these conditions.               decided to abandon the illegal organization
The Colombian case could, therefore, serve              (Del Castillo, 2004).
as a case study to better understand the                Reintegration, refers to medium and long term
positive and negative e¡ects of using a demo-           programmes, which include cash compen-
bilization process as a security policy in              sation, psychological assistance and training,
countries undergoing con£ict.                           aimed at facilitating the economic and social
This paper is based on qualitative research             reintegration of former combatants and their
and was conducted with open-ended ques-                 families (Bernal,1996).
tion interviews of 30 former combatants,                Reconciliation, then, is the ¢nal result of a pro-
including six women1. The former comba-                 cess wherein the parties, who once engaged
tants were all over 18 years old and had been           in a protracted, violent and destructive con-
in the programme for more than one month                £ict,aimforsustainablepeace.Thereconcilia-
                                                        tion process requires the involved parties to
Key concepts                                            recognize and accept each other diplomati-
The process of Demobilization and Reinte-               cally and psychologically (Kelman,1999).
gration in Colombia has four key concepts:
(1) demobilization, (2) reincorporation, (3)            The individual DDR process
reintegration and (4) reconciliation.                   The process of demobilization starts when a
Demobilization is understood as ‘the formal             combatant voluntarily lays down his or her
disbanding of military formations and at                weapons to a governmental institution (dis-
the individual level, as the process of releas-         armament). The end of the process is
ing combatants from a mobilized state’ (Ber-            achieved with the independence of the for-
nal,1996).Therefore, the Colombian govern-              mer combatant and the approval of the pro-
ment de¢nes a demobilized combatant as a                ductive life project. Once a combatant lays d-
person who voluntarily abandons his or her              own their weapons, they enter the Ministry
activity as a member of an armed group, joins           of National Defence Programme through
the programme for the demobilization of                 which their basic needs are covered. They
the Ministry of Defence and who is granted              are relocated to a transitional shelter or Casa
the certi¢cation of the CODA (Comite Oper-¤             de Paz. Inthe shelter, theyhave accessto com-
ativo para la Dejacion de Armas) which veri-            fortable beds, clean sanitary services, and a
¢es his/her past a⁄liation with an illegal              TV and lecture room (PAHD, 2003). In
armed group.                                            addition, they also have access to food, health
Reincorporation is de¢ned as the creation of            services, clothing, and personal hygiene pro-
policies that aim ‘to transform thousands of iso-       ducts. The government also provides former
lated individuals and ex-criminals into a force for     combatants with money for daily transpor-
peace’ (Bernal, 1996). Reincorporation helps            tation. According to the law, if a former com-
these individuals reintegrate into society              batant is demobilized with his or her family,
and start the process of nation building.               s/he is also entitledtothe samebene¢ts of shel-
Furthermore, reincorporation is de¢ned as               ter, food, clothing, and healthcare. If s/he is

                                                                                          Liliana Anaya

single, s/he can include his/her parents in the     plantain. These agricultural activities also
programme (Decree 128 of January 2003).             included the growing of coca plants.The edu-
During their stay in a shelter, the former com-     cation level onaveragewas limitedto elemen-
batants undergo a military interview. This          tary or the ¢rst years of high school. The
interview is meant to verify that the person        majority of the former combatants are heads
involved was a combatant in an illegal armed        of families with more than two children.
group. It is also aimed at obtaining infor-         Their reasons for joining organizations varied,
mationthatcanbeusedintheplanningofmili-             depending onthe areawhere the person lived.
tarystrategiesto stoptheillegalarmedgroups’         Some formercombatants saidthatthey volun-
actions and the rescuing of civilians. The for-     tarily joined these organizations. However, it
mer combatants also have the option of volun-
                                                    is important to examine the conditions that
tarily helping the military organize military
                                                    lured them into enrolling.The former comba-
operations to counter terrorist acts. Former
                                                    tants often came from areas where these
combatants are given economic compensa-
                                                    organizations have a strong presence. There-
tion according to the type of information they
                                                    fore, some of them had grown up having daily
provide and the results of the operation2.
                                                    contacts with people involved in these illegal
Once their information is veri¢ed, the Oper-
                                                    activities. Consequently, joining the guerrilla
ational Committee for the Laying Down of
                                                    or paramilitary groups is part of the tradition
Arms (CODA) certi¢es the former comba-
                                                    of some regions (Jefe Polic|¤ a Judicial Arauca
                                                    CIJIN,2005). Other reasons why people enrol
After this, the former combatants complete
                                                    in these groups include; the in£uence of
the Integral Adult Assessment, an interview
                                                    friends, false expectations of an easier life,
used to determine the emotional and psycho-
logical state of each former combatant. It is       andthe search forbettereconomic conditions.
conducted by psychologists and is used to           However, once in the groups, they realized
determine the psychological assistance that         that life as combatants is often harder than
a person might require.                             their previous living conditions. A female for-
After they are certi¢ed, the former comba-          mer combatant from the Fuerzas Armadas
tants enter the reintegration programme of          Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC) stated
the Ministry of Interior and Justice4. In this      the following: ‘I entered the FARC because a friend
phase, the former combatants have access to         took me there. I was escaping from my father and we
education and technical training that will          went to another town. My friend studied with me.
help him or her construct a productive life.        SheknewwhattheFARCwasabout,butIhadnoidea.
                                                    I let her convince me.When I arrived there, well as a
The combatants’ perspectives                        woman you can imagine, they start talking to you and
Life before being combatants. The majority of the   convincing you that life in the organization is cool.
former combatants interviewed before join-          Cool! Once in the organization I wanted to go back to
ing the groups used to be peasants living in        my house, but they wouldn’t let me go.’
rural areas, often in conditions of poverty.        Former members of the United Self Defence
Some of the women interviewed used to work          Forces of Colombia (AUC) expressed the
as maids or secretaries. The agricultural           view that they started working for people
activities in which the former combatants           involved inthe organizationbut had no inten-
participated before entering their organi-          tion of actually being members of the AUC.
zations included growing yucca, rice, and           After some time, they were sent to training

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

camps and enrolled completely into the                   Reasons for demobilizing. Combatants are
military activities of the paramilitaries.               demobilizing because they realized that
Life as combatants was often harder than they            there is a lack of ideology within the organiz-
ever imagined, especially because not only               ations and because their conditions as com-
did their lives change, but also those of their          batants are brutal. They realized that the
family members. The combatants did not                   war has become a source of economic pro¢t
have ¢xed salaries and, therefore, had no                and not away to achieve social change. Many
steady source of income to support their fam-            have recognized that the reasons behind the
ilies. In addition, their families were put at           war in Colombia relate to the drug trade
risk of being targets by opposing factions.              and territorial control. This only bene¢ts
The training as combatants in the guerrilla              the leaders of these illegal organizations.
and paramilitary groups is the same for                  Life after demobilization. Prior to entering the
men and women. As a result, if a woman gets              demobilization programme the combatants
pregnant, she has to have an abortion.                   did not have much knowledge about it. How-
According to a former combatant of the                   ever,thesparseinformationtheyhadhadbeen
AUC, in the event of need for abortions, the             obtained from the radio or other demobilized
women are simply killed. The training is                 combatants. In their organizations they are
intended to sever any emotional attachment               toldthatthegovernment killsthe demobilized
the person might have had before joining                 combatants once they obtain all the infor-
the organization. As part of their training,             mation they desire. It is only once they demo-
they are often forced to watch other comba-              bilize that they are assured this is not true.
tants being executed for not following orders.           Due to this propaganda, for the combatants
The combatants, therefore, have traumatic                to take the ¢rst step toward demobilizing is a
experiences even before they enter combat.               very terrifying experience. Also, the former
The combatants are frequently forced to                  combatantsrecognizethat in some areasthere
¢ght, with few of them expressing belief in              might be in¢ltrators attached to the illegal
the group’s ideology. Many acknowledge a                 armed groups within the armed forces. This
lack of credible ideology within the armed               increasestheiranxietyandfearof layingdown
groups where the war is a business.They risk             their weapons. However, the former comba-
their lives and their leaders get the economic           tants interviewed said that they were treated
bene¢ts. As one of the former FARC com-                  with respect when they did demobilize. For
manders stated; ‘I entered the organization con-         some ofthem, themomenttheyturnedintheir
vinced that a social change could be achieved and that   weapon was the ¢rst time they viewed any
the only alternative for us was to defend those ideals   member of the armed forces as anything other
with arms. It was a rational conscientious decision,     than as an enemy.The demobilization process
and I believed at that point in time that being in the   determines the atmosphere of the reinte-
revolution was the correct thing to do. However, the     gration process from its initial stage. The fact
internal political crisisthat the FARC wasexperien-      that the army treats them with respect helps
cing, the battle fatigue I was experiencing and seeing   the former combatantsto humanize an enemy
how the economic interests were more important than      again and start believing in the government
the political ideologies made me leave the organiz-      for the ¢rst time in years.
ation.Weaponsshould be a meansto achieve an objec-       The DDR programme. It is an obligation for all
tive; however, in the FARC, they are an objective by     former combatants to attend an introductory
themselves.’                                             lecture to familiarize themselves with the

                                                                                       Liliana Anaya

process of demobilization and reintegration.       activities to keep them busy during the day
Functionaries from both ministries explain         while they are being certi¢ed. Their expec-
the process. After the lectures, former comba-     tations for the future are to study, to invest
tants are asked what they remember about the       the money from the productivity projects
goals, objectives and steps of the programme.      (seed money), and to be able to have a job, so
The response is often that they do not have a      that they would have two sources of income.
clear understanding. The lectures are taught       Integration into a new social life and adapting an
by people who work in the ministries and are       individualistic lifestyle. The former combatants
highlyeducated, andin some cases, the former       are not going through a real process of reinte-
combatants do not understand the technical         gration, but rather integration to a new social
vocabulary used. A former combatant who            life. Since Colombia is still embroiled in
easily identi¢es with the audience and who         war, for security reasons the former comba-
has experienced the di⁄culties of the entire       tants cannot go back to the areas they came
process should give these lectures.                from. Some of the combatants have never
Overall, most former combatants said they          been in a city and are being relocated to large
are content with the process, especially with      cities, where they have to adapt to a new life-
bene¢ts such as food, shelter and the possib-      style.This makes their transition into civilian
ilityof being withtheir families.Theyare also      life more di⁄cult. For this reason, the concept
no longer persecuted and have the possibility      of reintegration is understood as the return
of a better life. However, they also identi¢ed     to familiar social groups and becoming
the di⁄culty for them in trusting others.          socially functional, cannot be applied in the
Since anyone could be an in¢ltrator, there is      case of Colombia.
a lack of trust among the former combatants        The former combatants lived cultural collec-
themselves. Life in the shelters is not easy,      tivistic lives before they joined the illegal
especially for those with families, and            groups. As combatants, they understood that
because of the concern about security.             their lives depended on their fellow comba-
The regulations of the programme are very          tants. When they demobilize, they have to
broad regarding economic compensation,             adapt to an individualistic lifestyle, where
and vary depending on the ministries’ bud-         they do not have a support system. First,
gets. For these reasons, the amount of seed        because they do not trust people in the shel-
money for productivity projects, as well as ot-    ters, and second, because they have to create
her economic bene¢ts, frequently changes.          economically productive projects individu-
Because of these changes, former combatants        ally, they perceive their situation to be
often believe that the government is being         highly challenging.
dishonest.                                         Loss of status. Another problem is that some
In sum, the former combatants interviewed          people acquired special social status within
suggested that in order for them to have a bet-    the illegal armed groups. After demobiliza-
ter transitionto civilian life, they needed more   tion, they lose that status. For example,
psychological attention, more information          women combatants obtain respect and status
about the processes of demobilization and          depending on the role they play and the ser-
reintegration to clearly understand what they      vice they provide to an organization.
areexperiencing,afastercerti¢cationprocess,        Although in some cases they are sexually
easier access to health services, independent      abused and the requirement to abort any
homes, more security within the shelters and       pregnancy is usually stated in the rules of

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

the group, there is a possibility that they may         the collective identity developed during their
achieve a status that they could not have               days as combatants. This generates a sense
had outside the organization (UNDP, 2003).              of detachment from their new socio-cultural
Having weapons and being useful to the                  context, increasing their stress and making
organization requires women to play di¡er-              interaction with other former combatants
ent roles from those available to them as part          more di⁄cult.
of a rural community.                                   The resultof this emotional stress is seen inthe
Problems for family members. Some of the com-           aggressiveness and impulsive response pre-
batants may not have seen their families since          sent in 16,1% of the population (Chavez,
enrolling in the armed groups. When they                2004b).This aggressiveness is directly related
leave the organizations, they have to £ee with          to the feelings of frustrationtheyare experien-
their families, forcing them to resume the              cing. Negative feelings can be traced to their
family role that they discarded when joining            life experiences before they became comba-
the organizations. The families often blame             tants through to the demobilization process.
the former combatant for the situation they             The former combatants initially feel fru-
are facing in the shelters (Chavez, 2004a;              strated because their expectations have not
UNDP, 2003).                                            been met. In mostcases, they joinedthe illegal
Psychological problems. The psychological               organizations in search of a better life. How-
changes that former combatants experience               ever, the fact that theyare demobilizing shows
are compounded by feelings of shame. The                that those expectations were not ful¢lled.
former combatants are only in the PAHD                  As mentioned earlier, these frustrations are
shelters for a few months and do not have time          re£ected in aggressive behaviour.The former
to build solid relationships with their peers.          combatants that experience these feelings
They often attempt to strengthen their pos-             tend to have low levels of tolerance as evident
itions withinthe shelterbyconveyinga strong             in their willingness to use violence.Violence
attitude through rude and aggressive beha-              is the most commonly utilized problem-sol-
viour. If they publicly acknowledge that they           ving method among former combatants
are experiencing nightmares or other                    andoften manifests itself as domestic violence
psychological problems, they feel they may              (Chavez, 2004a). Approximately 33% of for-
be perceived as mentally unstable.This could            mer combatants experience intra-family vio-
a¡ect their self-esteem, as well as their social        lence (PAHD, 2004).
position within the shelter. According to the           Reconciliation. Since demobilization is an indi-
PAHD 2004 reports, 13,6% of the demobi-                 vidual process, as soon as the combatant
lized combatants in Santa Fe de Bogota had ¤            demobilizes, the organization to which s/he
a negative self-image. This is re£ected in              belongs becomes his/her enemy. For their for-
low self-esteem, insecurity, and the inability          mer organization, s/he is now a deserter
to identify their potential to build a new life         who deserves to die if captured. For this
(Chavez, 2004b). These emotional problems               reason, former combatants are often willing
are exacerbated by what the psychologists               to give all the information required to cap-
of the programme refer to as identity pro-              ture and dismantle the block from which they
blems. This occurs when former combatants               escaped (T   oro, 2004). However, this does
enter a new urban life at a stage when they             not mean that they do not continue to see
have not fully embraced their role as civi-             the former combatants of opposing groups
lians. Their disposition continues to relate to         as their enemies.

                                                                                      Liliana Anaya

The former combatants consider civilians to        and visits to specialists in public hospitals,
be the major victims of the con£ict, especially    and there are nurses that periodically visit
the peasants inthe combat areas. In addition,      the shelters. However, the card expires after
they recognize that they, as well as their         45 days because, when the programme was
families, are also victims of the con£ict.They     designed, it was estimatedthat apersonwould
identify themselves as victims due to the atro-    spend less than 45 days under the supervision
cities they had to endure as combatants.           of the Ministry of National Defence.The hos-
Some of them talked about the opportunities        pitals have the obligation to treat the former
they lost whenthey entered the organizations       combatants even after their health cards
and the loss of their childhood and youth.         expired. However, that is not often the case.
When former combatants were asked whom             Another of the concerns of the former comba-
they would like to ask for forgiveness, their      tants is that there have been cases when they
responses were (1) God, (2) their mothers          visited a hospital, but were unable to see a
and (3) their families. They acknowledged          doctor. The former combatants claimed that
that forgiveness is an essential component of      hospital personnel are often not familiar with
reconciliation. The former combatants also         the health service process for former comba-
realized that, because of their actions while      tants and, subsequently, deny them services
in the organizations, they needed the forgive-     (Carrillo, 2004).
ness of civilians. On the other hand, most of      T emporaryshelters. Currently, one of thebiggest
the former combatants interviewed also             concerns of the former combatants, especi-
accepted the fact that they needed to forgive      ally those with young children, is life in the
any wrong that was done to them.                   temporary shelters. There have been
                                                   reported alcohol and drug related problems,
Conclusion and                                     as well as robberyand inter-personal violence
recommendations                                    (T oro, 2004). During the interviews, one of
The demobilization programme has success-          the most frequent responses when former
fully reduced the personnel of the illegal         combatants were asked what else was needed
armed groups. In addition, it has provided         to ease their transition into civilian life was
the government with important information          independent housing. The temporary shel-
to stop terrorist attacks and has helped rescue    ters are under the administration of private
kidnapped civilians. From a military               companies, which are contracted through
perspective, the process is a successful policy;   public bidding. The requirements to enter
however, the programme still presents pro-         the bidding are to have the necessary infra-
blems in the reincorporation and reinte-           structure (a house big enough to give shelter
gration part. Although the programme o¡ers         to a group of former combatants) and the
the combatants alternative possibilities to        capacity to provide food and personal
war, there is still a long way to go before they   hygiene products to everyone in the shelter.
can be fully reintegrated into civilian life and   Each temporary shelter is assigned a man-
a process of national reconciliation achieved.     ager. Usually, the managers have no previous
Access to health services. One of the challenges   training in how to dealwiththe speci¢c popu-
that the former combatants encounter in            lation, or in crisis management. The compa-
the demobilization stage concerns their            nies in charge of the shelters are now required
access to health services. The health card,        to have psychological assistance available
according to the law, covers general medicine      for the former combatants.

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

Security. Interms of security, the families of the      psychological needs are not being properly
former combatants tend to live in high-risk             addressed inthe programme. An appropriate
zones. This presents an obstacle for the                process of trauma healing will help former
authorities trying to relocate them. It is also         combatants become reconciled with them-
very di⁄cult for the government to provide              selves, deal with their past, take advantage
security forthem.Thedi⁄cultiesinrelocating              of the bene¢ts of the programme, and help
the families andthe family reunion itself cause         them adapt to their new lifestyle, and will
high levels of anxiety and stress to the former         help reduce the chances of returning to the
combatants.Thisa¡ectstheir interactionwith              guerrilla or paramilitary groups.
their families, as well as the other members            In addition, there is no re-humanization or
of the shelters. It is often expressed through          changeinthestereotypedimage6 oftheenemy
domestic violence and abuse (Chavez,                    among the former combatants and with the
2004a).                                                 civilians. The re-humanization of the enemy
Security is also a major concern within the             is the process by which an individual or group
shelters. The former combatants fear that               changes their stereotypes of the other, and
the guerrillas or the paramilitary groups ^             acknowledges the other group or person’s
who see them as deserters ^ could discover              attributesasahumanbeing.SocietyinColom-
their locations and attack the shelters. This           bia is not ready to undergo this process and
fear is enhanced by the possibility of having           recognize the former combatants as civilians,
an in¢ltrated person within the shelters that           nordotheformercombatantsrecognizethem-
could provide information to illegal organiz-           selves as such.These factors hinder the possib-
ations about the locations of the shelters.5            ility of national reconciliation andthe possibi-
Reintegration. The former combatants are not            lities of sustainable peace.
being reintegrated but integrated into new
communities. They pass from a collectivistic            References
rural military life to an individualistic urban         Bernal, M. R. (1996). Disarmament and Demobiliza-
life as civilians. Inaddition, their war traumas            tion after Civil Wars: Arms, soldiers and the termin-
are notbeing treatedadequately.Thesefactors                 ation ofarmed con£ict,Vol. 303. London: Adelphi.
make it di⁄cult for themto acknowledge their            Carrillo, A. (2004). La Reinsercio¤ n deJo¤ venesVincula-
responsibilities and duties as civilians.                   dos al Con£icto: Un Proyecto para la Construccio¤n
Reconciliation. The reconciliation process                  de una Nueva Sociedad? Universidad Santo
requires the involved parties to recognize                  T omas, Bogota.  ¤
and accept one another diplomatically and               Chavez, U. (2004a). Chief of Psicology. PAHD.
psychologically (Kelman,1999). Civil society                Personal communication, August.
in Colombia still sees former combatants as             Chavez, U. (2004b). Resultados Valoracion Inte-  ¤
a threat. For this reason, neither former com-              gral Primer Semestre.
batants nor the rest of society are ready to            Clavijo, L. (2005). Personal communication,
accept one another in this nation building                  7 March.
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                                                                  s                                          ork:
could help the state protect democracy and                  Women’s Commission for Refugee Women
citizens’ rights. In addition, an important                 and Children.
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former combatants deal withtheir fears, their               Colombia. Lima: CEPEI (Centro de Pensa-
pasts, and their grievances. However, these                                    ¤
                                                            miento Estrategico Internacional).

                                                                                                          Liliana Anaya

Gonzales, F. (2003). The Colombian Con£ict in                               ¤
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    Historical Perspective. Accord International              Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).
    Review of Peace Initiatives,Vol. 14.                      Among the 30 former combatants there were six
Gross Stein, J., Stren, R., Fitzgiboon, J. &                  women (three from the AUC, two from the FARC
    Maclean, M. (2001). Networks of knowledge: colla-         and one from the ELN). The interviews only
    borative innovation in international learning.            include former combatants from various transi-
    T oronto, Bu¡alo: University of T     oronto Press.                                            ¤
                                                              tional shelters located in Bogota. Some interviews
Jefe Polic|¤ a Judicial Arauca. Chief Judicial Police,        were conducted at the o⁄ce for the Programa de
    Arauca CIJIN (2005). Personal communi-                             ¤
                                                              Atencion Humanitaria al Desmovilizado (Pro-
    cation,12 January.                                        gram for Humanitarian Aid for the Demobiliza-
Keairns,Y. E. (2003).TheVoices of Girl Child Soldiers.        tion or PAHD) and others in an open ¢eld
    NewY    ork: Quaker United Nations O⁄ce.                  during some of the training sessions organized by
Kelman, H. C. (1999).Transforming the Relation-               the programme. The interviews were scheduled
    ship Between Former Enemies: A Social-                    to last no more than two hours. However, the time
    Psychological Analysis. In R. Rothstein (Ed.),            varied according to the willingness of the former
    After the Peace: Resistance and Reconciliation            combatants to answer the questions. If in any case,
    (193^205). Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.             as Keairns urges, the former combatants inter-
La Pol|¤ tica de Desmovilizacio¤ n y Reincorporacio¤ n a la   viewed were experiencing discomfort recalling
    Vida Civil (2004). Washington, DC: Embajada               or re£ecting on past experience, the interviews
    de Colombia en Estados Unidos.                            were stopped (Keairns, 2003).
Medina, M. (2005). Personal communication,                    2 According to a report of the Colombian

    6 January.                                                Embassy in the United States, the information
Ministry of Defence (2003). Democratic Security               and testimonies provided by the former comba-
    and Defence Policy. Bogota: Presidency of the             tants in the military interviews have served to
    Republic.                                                 neutralize terrorist actions. For example, the deto-
Ministry of Interior and Justice (2005). Programa                                                    ¤
                                                              nation of 11 car bombs in Bogota was prevented
    para la Reincorporacion. Retrieved April                  during 2003, as was the occupation of four small
    2005 from http://www.mininteriorjusticia.-                towns in the same year. In addition, based on mili-                   tary interviews, the army designs and expedites
    pag=455&cat=22.                                           military operations against illegal groups that
PAHD (2003). Manual de Convivencia en los Hogaresde           have resulted in the destruction of 160 subversive
    Paz.                                                      camps andthe liberation of sevencivilians (La Pol|¤ -
Rojas, C. (2004). In the Midst ofWar:Women’s Contri-          tica de Desmovilizacio¤ ny Reincorporacio¤ n a laVida Civil,
    bution to Peace in Colombia. Washington, DC:              2004).
    WomenWaging Peace.                                        3 The CODA is comprisedof representatives from

Toro, C. (2004). Advisor for the Ministry of                  the Ministry of Interior and Justice, the Ministry
    Defence. Personal communication, August.                  of National Defence, the Public Prosecutor’s o⁄ce,
UNDP (2003). Solution to Escape the Con£ict’s Impasse.        the Ombudsman, and the Instituto Colombiano
    NewY    ork: United Nations.                              de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) (Medina, 2005).
                                                              The CODA analyzes the ¢les for each former com-
1 The people interviewed included 13 former                   batant and decides whether that person was really
members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionar-                  a member of an illegal armed group. If the person
ias de Colombia (FARC), two from the Ejercito                 is deniedcerti¢cation, s/he and his/her family have

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

72 hours to leave the shelter. However, the person      and money for transportation (60 000 pesos per
has the right to an appeal, through which s/he          month). It also includes personal hygiene kits,
can present the CODA with more information              psychological assistance, health insurance, and
and have the decision reversed. If the information      any necessary follow up of their needs.The former
is not enough to certify or deny a person, the case     combatants have to stay in the shelters for a period
is suspended. At that point, more information           of six months after being certi¢ed in order to be
is gathered and the case is re-opened (Medina,          granted independent homes. The requirements
2005).                                                  for an independent home are (a) being enrolled
4 The programme of the Ministry of Justice and          in an educational programme or working, (b)
Interior has ¢ve main areas: (1) Security, (2) Judi-    being certi¢ed by the CODA, (c) possessing valid
cial, (3) Humanitarian Aid, (4) Education and           identi¢cation cards for themselves and their
(5) Projects. The area of Security encompasses          family members if theyare partof the programme,
cooperation with the police and other armed             (d) writing a letter stating their desire for an inde-
forces that provide security for the shelters, and      pendent home, (e) opening a savings account, (f)
teaching the former combatants about self-protec-       a letter from a psychologist stating that they are
tion. If a former combatant requires special secur-     psychologically prepared to live independently
ity, this programme is responsible for relocating       and (g) a letter of good behaviour from the shel-
him/her to independent homes. The Judicial area         ter’s manager.
takes care of any legal problem the former comba-       The area of education is in charge of providing the
tants might face.The programme o¡ersthe former          training that the former combatants will need to
combatants the possibility of having their judicial     be economically productive after ¢nishing the
situation clari¢ed. Every combatant in the AUC          programme. All of the former combatants are
is charged with intent to break the law, illegal pos-   required to be literate before completing the pro-
session of weapons and military uniforms of the         gramme. This area o¡ers elementary, secondary
armed forces, andany associatedcrimes. For being        and vocational studies. The former combatants
a member of an insurgent group, a person is             have the opportunity to take classes targeted to
charged with rebellion, illegal possession of weap-     improve their skills in what they have decided for
ons and associated crimes.The programme grants          their Productivity Project.
amnesty for these crimes, but not for any crime         The projects area is in charge of helping the former
against humanity. After former combatants are           combatants design a long-term plan or Pro-
granted preclusion of their cases, if they are          ductivity Project to ensure their incomes after
involved in any crime for the next two years, the       the programme ends. The Ministry of Interior
precluded cases are reopened and they are               and Justice gives each former combatant seed
recharged for those crimes.                             money for his/her project. The amount of money
The judicial bene¢ts the programme o¡ers are            changes according to the ministry’s budget (Cla-
among the biggest incentives for combatants to          vijo, 2005). In 2005, the seed money was
demobilize. The former combatants said that if          8 000 000 pesos. The former combatants received
they deserted from an illegal armed group and           this amount in consumables based on their Pro-
did not enter the demobilizationprogramme, both         ductivity Projects.
the illegal armed groups and the judicial govern-       If the former combatants want to leave the pro-
mental institutions would persecute them.               gramme at any point, they need to sign an agree-
The area of Humanitarian Aid is in charge of pro-       ment stating their voluntarily departure. They
viding the former combatants with shelter, food,        lose the economic bene¢ts of the productive pro-
clothing (150 000 pesos bonus ticket per person),       ject. However, theydo not lose thejudicialbene¢ts.

                                                                                              Liliana Anaya

If former combatants leave the programme with-         their lives and ensure that their information and
out notifying the Ministry of Interior and Justice,    location will not be sold back to the illegal armed
they will be prosecuted for the crimes committed       groups that they are deserting.
before entering the programme.                         Some logistic challenges that the PAHD faces are
5 Two logistic and implementation challenges           the Adult Integral Assessment and the military
that the DDR programme encounters are the sto-         interview. Regarding the Adult Integral Assess-
rage of weapons, and the allocation of resources.      ment, the problem is that there are not enough
In a collective demobilizationprocess, allthe arms     specialists to assist the entire population. In
are destroyed. However, in the absence of an           addition, quantifying the information gathered
agreement, the weapons of the former combatants        to actually draw a pro¢le of the population is di⁄-
are a source of judicial information. From the         cult. First, the interviews are not designed in a
weapons the combatants turn in, the government         way that would enable the information to be cate-
can determine the routes of arms tra⁄ckers or          gorized into variables; second the software used
the crimes committed with particular weapons.          for obtaining statistics of the population is not used
In an individual process, weapons are not              in an adequate way. However, some general valu-
destroyed but instead are placed in a depot under      able information can be obtained from the assess-
the supervision of the Public Prosecutor. After all    ments that help the programme to provide an
the judicial information has been obtained from        understanding of the behaviour and character-
the arms, those meeting military standards are         istics of former combatants.
reused and the others are destroyed. These weap-       In the military interviews, the interviewers are all
ons used by the FARC and AUC, such as the              male members of the military forces, in addition
AK47 ri£e, came from the Soviet Union. Such            to being intelligence experts in particular areas
weapons are not compatible with the ones the           of the country.Therefore, they can verify whether
army uses (T    oro, 2004). Keeping the weapons        the information provided by any demobilizing
implies a high cost to the government, and there       person concurs with the reality of a region. All of
is always the risk of theft by illegal armed groups    the former combatants would ideally be subjected
and reused.                                            to a polygraph test. However, the ones demobi-
With regard to the allocation of resources, since it                   ¤
                                                       lized in Bogota take precedence. The information
is a voluntary and individual process, it is di⁄cult   is then presented to a committee that compares it
to budget for the costs. Predicting the number of      with military intelligence. The interviewers
combatants and where they are going to be demo-        gather the information, make their evaluations,
bilized is a di⁄cult task. It is challenging for the   and pass them on to the CODA, which is the entity
PAHD to plan how many shelters and supplies            that grants certi¢cation.
and what level of transportation should be avail-      The programme fails to follow up on the former
able.                                                  combatants once they are independent. There is
One of the problems that the former combatants         no follow-up monitoring of former combatants
face before they lay down their weapons is the cor-    during their reintegration process.The only infor-
ruption within the military forces. In some areas,     mation available is the records obtained from the
there are in¢ltrators of the illegal armies in the     Adult Integral Assessment and from the ¢les that
national armed forces. In some cases, combatants       the Ministry of Interior and Justice has on every
have to send a request or petition to high military    combatant. Not having follow-up mechanisms
o⁄cials expressing their desire to demobilize.         makes it impossible to know if a former combatant
According to a former combatant from the FARC          has returned to an illegal armed group. Former
interviewed, by doing so, they are able to protect     combatants are compensated for information

Individual demobilization and reintegration process in Colombia: implementation, challenges and former
combatants’ perspectives, Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 179 - 190

about their organizations that they volunteer to        ations, such information places the shelters in a
the government. However, there is no way of pre-        vulnerable position.
venting a former combatant from rejoining               6 According to Gross Stein, Stren, Fitzgibbon and

another faction of the same organization but in a       Maclean (2001), an image refers to a set of beliefs
di¡erent location.                                      or the hypotheses and theories that an individual
The e¡ect of this loophole is not only that the gov-    or group is convinced are valid.
ernment money might end up helping these illegal
organizations, but also that the other former com-        Liliana Anaya is a graduate in the ¢eld of Inter-
batants are placed at higher risk.The former com-         national Peace and Con£ict Resolution from
batants who return to their organizations know            American University in Washington D.C.
the locations of the shelters, the names of the other     Author’s address: PO Box 135, Warrenton,
demobilized combatants, and how the system                VA 20188, USA. E-mail: lanaya_giraldo@
works. Therefore, in the hands of these organiz-


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