Posted by James Bargent on Oct 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Colombian govt divided over plans for separate military courts

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Internal divisions in the government are emerging over the inclusion of controversial plans for separate military courts in a judicial reform bill.

Two weeks ago Interior Minister Interior German Vargas Lleras announced the withdrawal of the proposal, although he claimed this was to ease the passing of the reform bill, not over concerns it could lead to impunity for military personnel, as critics claim.

However, on Wednesday Colombian media revealed the Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon has continued to carry out consultations on the proposal.

News of Pinzon’s consultations emerged when Conservative Party President Jose Dario Salazar spoke to the press after a meeting with Pinzon.

Salazar said, “we hope this [the division] doesn’t happen again, because it is the Ministry of Defense who should speak for the armed forces.”

The Conservative senator also declared his party’s backing for the proposal,

He said, “among the troops there is a worry about legal security and if the courts know the situation with combat.”

On Tuesday, U Party senator Juan Carlos Velez also broke ranks to declare his support for the planned military courts.

Velez, a renowned diehard supporter of former president Alvaro Uribe, said, “it is very important that the constitution states that when there is a case involving the armed forces, then it is military courts not ordinary justice that is responsible.”