. . . Bill No. 85 would give military courts extensive jurisdiction covering, among others, homicide, breaches of international humanitarian law, breaches of information and data protection, crimes against public security and other crimes that should fall within the jurisdiction of ordinary criminal courts.
“We call on the Government to ensure that the jurisdiction of military tribunals be limited to criminal offences and breaches of discipline of a strictly military nature and allegedly committed by active members of the armed forces,” the experts said.
“Crimes amounting to serious human rights violations should always fall within the jurisdiction of ordinary courts, including when the alleged acts were committed by military or police personnel,” they underscored.
Since military courts in Colombia are part of the executive branch, extending their jurisdiction to matters that should be heard by ordinary criminal courts would exacerbate the problems and concerns already existing in terms of access to justice, impunity for human rights violations, and respect for the fair trial and due process guarantees of the accused, it was noted.
The experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and carry out their mandates in an unpaid capacity, offered their advisory services to assist Colombia in its efforts to strengthen its legislative and institutional framework for the achievement of human rights and peace for all.