Colombia court strikes down military justice law

The Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled in an unreleased decision on Oct. 23 that a constitutional amendment and pursuant statute (PDFexpanding the military justice system is unconstitutional. Magistrate Jorge Ivan Palacio announced that the decision was based on “procedural defects” within the law. The measure would have placed violations of international human rights law involving the armed forces—categorizing them as acts related to military service—under the jurisdiction of an expanded military justice system. Advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch have alleged that the measure would have increased impunity for human rights violators. Defense Minister Juan Carlos PinzĂłn, however, expressed the belief that the ruling was a blow to the military that would decrease morale. He also suggested that the government would attempt a revised version of the bill. Under the current law, all human rights cases are to be tried in civil court. The decision is not subject to appeal.

From Jurist, Oct. 24. Used with permission.