Saturday, September 27, 2014

Proposal to create special courts in Bolivia and eliminate military jurisdiction

Sen. Marcelo Antezana
A draft law proposing the elimination of military courts in favor of special courts under the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) is being proposed by Senator Marcelo Antezana, a former Chief of the Army.  The opposition senator received legal advice on the drafting of this bill from Osvaldo Rojas, the lawyer for detained noncom Johnny Gil.

The bill was presented to the Legislative Assembly last year but was not discussed.  Rojas argues that neither the Permanent Court of Military Justice (TPJM) nor the Supreme Court of Military Justice are recognized in the Bolivian Constitution.  Article 180 of the Constitution, however, states that "military jurisdiction will judge crimes of military nature regulated by law."

What they are proposing is not the complete disappearance of military justice, but rather that within the TSJ special chambers be created to deal with military offenses, including a judge or tribunal specialized in military law.

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