Colombian Congress Approves Military Justice Law Reform

By Dialogo
June 19, 2013

On June 17, the Colombian Congress House of Representatives passed a constitutional reform bill that will extend the military code of law.

The bill’s text only needs to be reconciled in formal proceedings by both Congressional chambers to pass through the Legislative power.

The Constitutional Court will analyze the reform bill in order to determine if it concurs with the Magna Carta and, if so, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will sign it into law.

The 100 articles of the bill were approved by 103 votes in favor and six votes against, after an eight hour debate in a plenary session.

Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón praised the approval and assured legislators that “they have voted for a legitimate bill, which responds to international questioning.”

Furthermore, he confirmed that with this bill, the so-called “false positives” (murders of civilians by military that are reported as killed in combat with illegal armed groups) “are excluded from military justice forever.”

He added that “clear and strict rules for public forces when enforcing the state of law” are contemplated in the bill.

Currently, “false positives” are under investigation under criminal law, and they might be transferred to the Ministry of Defense for further investigation and impeachment of authorities,” he told the United Nations.

The prosecution is now investigating 1,295 crimes attributed to the Army; 26 to the Police and 12 to the National Navy.

Just like urgent measures have been taken to stimulate peace conversations, the Armed Forces should also be stimulated with the same purpose, which will lead to actual peace and will protect social justice, in order to achieve a new nation that is fairer and more democratic.