Sunday, October 19, 2014

Colombian debate continues

Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes
The debate continues in Colombia over a bill that would expand military jurisdiction. Here is an extract from an El Espectador op-ed by Dejusticia's Prof. Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes:
This bill, like the previous constitutional reform, fundamentally alters the situation, because military justice for the security forces ceases to be exceptional. Indeed, the draft provides, with six exceptions (genocide, forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, sexual violence, torture and forced displacement), that any violation of humanitarian law committed by soldiers or police will be cognizable only by the military courts.
This drastic change has been justified with several arguments, such as the alleged inability of ordinary judges to understand military operations or the alleged lack of legal security guarantees and military in the ordinary courts. But none of these reasons is compelling . . . .
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. . . It's better to professionalize and provide genuine independence to military justice, for which no constitutional reform is required, instead of thinking of dangerously extending its jurisdiction. [Rough Google translation]

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