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Colombia defends military justice reform to HRW

posted by Caitlin Trent

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Colombia news - military justice

Colombia’s defense minister has defended a controversial military justice reform bill in a letter to Human Rights Watch, newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday.

The controversial reform, which just passed its penultimate round of voting and is scheduled to enter the final debate in senate on December 20, was defended by Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon in a 13 page letter to Human Rights Watch (HRW), according to El Tiempo.

Since early last year HRW has criticized the reform, along with multiple other organizations and NGOs such as the UN, in their belief that the military reform would allow authorities to escape justice in human rights violations since the reform gives more power to military investigation and prosecution of human rights abuses committed by police and military personnel, rather than a civil court.

Pinzon however, argued that the reform would not allow for impunity since cases of: crimes against humanity, genocide, forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, sexual violence, torture and forced displacement are excluded from military jurisdiction of the reform.

This reform aims to inject efficiency, speed and credibility of our institutions in favor of the rights and guarantees, not only of the members of the security forces, but of all Colombians, ” Pinzon’s letter stated.

The Defense Minister, as he has done in the past, went on to explain how the reform would actually bolster transparency and judicial efficiency rather than exacerbate impunity, characteristics which outside organizations have not yet been convinced of.

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