Peace wager: Law expert assists with negotiations in Colombia

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

Havana, Cuba. September 23, 2015, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia (left in the photo) and the head of the FARC, Comandante Timoschenko (right in the photo) shake hands during a ceremony announcing the first agreement for peace. Never before had a Colombian President and a FARC comandante shaken hands.

Peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the country’s principal leftist guerillas had come to a standstill yet again. One of the longest and bloodiest civil wars in modern history hung in the balance. A month earlier, the rebels had killed 11 soldiers at an army camp. The government retaliated, killing more than 20 guerillas, who ended their unilateral ceasefire.

In the middle of this chaos last May, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called Doug Cassel, a human rights attorney and an expert in transitional justice, at his office in the Notre Dame Law School.

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