Monday, November 24, 2014

NGOs oppose Colombian bills

Seventeen NGOs have come out in opposition to pending Colombian military justice legislation, according to this article in El Tiempo:
"We note with deep concern the renewed legislative efforts of the Colombian government that would deny justice for human rights abuses including the extrajudicial executions committed by members of the security forces," say the NGOs, which include Amnesty International, Wola, the Robert Kennedy Center for Human Rights and the Working Group for Latin America (LAWG).
The signers refer in particular to Bills 085 and 022, which are currently pending in the House and Senate.
The first, say NGOs, requires that murder allegedly committed by a member of the security forces be tried by a military tribunal.
"Since cases of extrajudicial executions, including those known as 'false positives,' have been charged as homicides in the past, the adoption of this bill makes it likely that such crimes will be tried by military courts, which have often failed to deliver justice for human rights abuses committed by members of the security forces," the statement contends.
It added that the UN has warned in the past that the adoption of such a reform would represent a significant setback to efforts by Colombia to comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights.
The second (Bill 022, 2014 Senate) seeks to amend the Constitution so that "violations" of international humanitarian law and crimes committed by active duty members are tried by military courts, with the exception of crimes against humanity, genocide, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, forced disappearance, torture and forced displacement. [Rough Google translation]

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