Colombia’s Justice Minister has ruled out the withdrawal of military courts’ jurisdiction in cases of alleged human rights abuses by security forces, reported Radio Caracol Tuesday.
The comments were made by Juan Carlos Esguerra following a statement released Saturday by President Juan Manuel Santos that Congress will be requested to withdraw a proposed amendment to the 1991 Constitution giving military courts initial control of investigations in to alleged human rights abuses by the military.
Santos’ statement was met Monday by a volley of criticism from former Colombian President Manuel Uribe, who said via Twitter the military should be, “stimulated, not stigmatized.”
In making his comments, Esguerra outlined a proposal for an initial military-civilian commission to decide whether cases go to military or civilian court.
Esguerra did not mention the status of the police within the current justice system, which was the reason given by Santos for the request to withdraw the amendment.
According Santos, the status of the police remains in limbo, as it is undefined as to whether abuses by them should be tried in military or civilian court. Santos advocates withdrawing the amendment pending more comprehensive reform of the military courts system.