Colombia Peace Talks Seek Pope, UN Help

Colombia Peace Talks Seek Pope, UN Help Colombia Peace Talks Seek Pope, UN Help

The Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels have asked Pope Francis and the UN secretary-general for help in reaching a historic peace accord. A special war crimes court is one of the last sensitive issues.

They have sought help for selecting judges for a special court that would prosecute war crimes as part of a historic peace deal both sides hope to reach within weeks, DPA reported.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement on Twitter.

The Special Peace Jurisdiction court will be a pivotal part of any peace plan and reconciliation in the country. Negotiators also asked three Colombian judicial bodies to help in the judge selection process.

Colombia is on the cusp of a final peace agreement after nearly four years of negotiations to end a 52-year conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions.

The grinding talks have addressed all major hurdles, including land reform, drug trafficking, demobilization of guerrillas and political participation. In June, the two sides implemented a ceasefire.

The sides have agreed on a truth and reconciliation commission and amnesty for most crimes committed by government forces, FARC and rightwing paramilitaries. The most serious war crimes would be prosecuted by the special court.

However, the issue of amnesty for FARC guerrillas is unpopular for many Colombians who will vote on the peace plan in a referendum. A poll last week showed a majority of voters would not support the peace plan, while another poll last month had a majority supporting it.