Photo: Colombia Military Power Increases
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deep concern over the serious setback in human rights that would represent the constitutional reform that modifies Articles 116, 152 and 221 of the Constitution of Colombia that significantly expands the scope of the military criminal jurisdiction.
According to information the Commission has received, on December 11, 2012, the full Senate of Colombia approved the reform. The Inter-American Commission considers that various provisions that were approved are incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.
Further, the reform establishes that alleged crimes committed in the framework of a military operation would be tried under the military criminal jurisdiction, and international humanitarian law would apply. Although the reform excludes crimes against humanity, genocide, and a series of grave human rights violations from being judged in military courts (it refers to forced disappearance, extrajudicial execution, sexual violence, torture, and forced displacement), it establishes that other grave human rights violations would be heard before courts of military jurisdiction, for example war crimes and arbitrary detentions, among others.
Therefore, under the new law, it would be the military criminal justice system that would carry out the first investigation activities following a presumed crime committed by a member of the public force.
The constitutional reform on military criminal jurisdiction would reverse progress and would constitute a serious setback that jeopardizes the right to justice for victims of human rights violations.