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The extension of military jurisdiction in Colombia

September 20, 2013
The international community should closely monitor the extension of the military jurisdiction in Colombia

The Human Rights Council reviewed and adopted its report on the outcome of the UPR of Colombia. The review of Colombia took place a few months ago and back then we already advocated for the inclusion of specific recommendations on women’s participation to peace-building and military justice. We reiterate our arguments during the adoption of this report.

The inappropriate extension of military jurisdiction

During the adoption, we called, among other issues, for the effective implementation of two recommendations on the limitation of military jurisdiction over human rights violations. Back in April 2013, we advocated for the inclusion of a recommendation that addresses the issue of the disturbing extension of military jurisdiction.

Colombian army special forces in training

Colombian army special forces in training

We believe that cases of human rights violations should be prosecuted before ordinary courts. We strongly condemned the adoption in June 2013 of a statutory law that exacerbates the level of impunity for crimes committed by armed forces in Colombia and that diminishes victims’ access to justice. Indeed, if alleged human rights violations perpetrated by a soldier are to be judged by a court that is part of the army, justice becomes partial and has an interest within the case.

We thus welcome the call made by the United Kingdom for Colombia to regularly publish regular information and statistics on investigations into alleged human rights abuses by military personnel; we urge the government of Colombia to positively respond to this request.

What to do next?

You can read our statement on the adoption of the outcome report on the UPR of Colombia. You can also read the outcome report on the UPR of Colombia and our initial suggestions for recommendations.

WILPF, and in particular our section in Colombia (LIMPAL Colombia), will keep a very close eye now to monitor the implementation of all UPR recommendations. The UPR recommendations will be an essential advocacy tool to defend and protect human rights in Colombia, especially women’s rights.

In particular, we should all advocate for Colombia to publicly publish information every time an alleged human rights violation is investigated by military personel, it will allow for an international monitoring of this process that has a high risk of hindering access to justice for all.

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