BOGOTA - The Colombian Congress has approved a law setting up guidelines for peace talks between the government and left-wing guerrilla groups.
The so-called Legal Framework for Peace calls for soft sentences for rebels if they confess and compensate victims, and agree to lay down arms.
The move marks a shift from the policies of previous governments, which have refused to negotiate with rebels.
Human rights groups as well as right-wing politicians - many close to former President Alvaro Uribe - say it would allow crimes to go unpunished.
The law, which has the backing of President Juan Manuel Santos, passed in the congress by 65 votes to three.
It applies to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and National Liberation Army (ELN), but does not include criminals involved with drug cartels or former paramilitary groups.