Colombian congressmen are filing a lawsuit against the passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, saying that legislation in the FTA dealing with intellectual property and Internet access did not pass through proper Congressional procedures, reported local media Thursday.
A congressman from the Polo Democratico party, Jorge Robledo, said lawyers are finalizing a lawsuit asking to nullify the FTA, which will be presented before the Constitutional Court this week.
Opponents of the FTA claim that the intellectual property laws should have been looked at first by primary Congressional commissions, as opposed to the secondary commissions that deal with international legislation.
“They pushed it through illegally; this law should not have gone through the second commissions of the Senate and the House, but rather the first commissions. There are sufficient Constitutional Court rulings that say that if a law passes through the wrong commissions the law is illegal,” said Robledo.
President of the Senate, Juan Manuel Roman, denies these assertions, claiming that the law passed through the proper legal entities.“These laws are part of the FTA and certainly touched on matters that could have been looked at by other commissions, but because of their international components, they should go through the second commissions,” he said.
President of the House, Simon Gaviria Munoz reiterated that international agreements are always presented before the second commissions.
The laws were part of Bill 201, the latest attempt by the national government to make Colombia’s intellectual property laws fall in line with those of the United States before the FTA goes into effect May 15.
With the new bill, Colombia ushers in a myriad of new laws that will crack down on piracy and counterfeiting, creating stricter penalties for offenders.