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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Colombia militias quit peace deal
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (file image)
Mr Uribe says he disagreed with the court's decision
A group of jailed right-wing Colombian paramilitary leaders have indefinitely pulled out of the peace process.

They are protesting against a recent Supreme Court decision to try them as common criminals, rather than for political crimes.

As part of the country's controversial justice and peace law, they were entitled to special treatment.

Some 31,000 right-wing fighters have been disarmed since a peace accord was signed with the paramilitaries in 2003.

'Frozen peace pact'

A spokesman for the imprisoned paramilitary leaders said the court's move had broken the "judicial spirit" of the peace process.

"With this decision, the reconstruction of the historical truth, the handing over of mass graves and other legal obligations assumed under the peace pact are frozen," Antonio Lopez said.

"We can't allow our fighters to be treated like common criminals," he added.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said that he disagrees with the court's decision, and has vowed to put the peace process back on track.

"I've repeated several times in the past five years of government: if the guerrillas are recognised as subversives, the same criteria should be applied to paramilitaries," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The country's right-wing militias were formed in the 1980s to fight Marxist guerrillas.

Both sides have been involved in the cocaine trade.

Tens of thousands of civilians are known to have died in the 40-year conflict between the state and left-wing rebels.

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