Colombia’s Congress agreed with President Juan Manuel Santos’ proposal to bury an already approved justice reform that, according to the president and critics, is unconstitutional and would sentence the country’s judicial branch to chaos if it were to take effect.
In two consecutive sessions in Colombia’s House of Representative and Senate, lawmakers of both houses agreed to vote in favor of repealing the reform in Thursday’s session.
The two sessions were called by Santos who refused to ratify the bill and asked Congress to start the legislative process to change the constitutional amendment deemed necessary to reform Colombia’s clogged justice system.
According to Santos, the bill that was agreed upon by a Congressional committee would cause “institutional and judicial chaos.” The opposition has called the reform “a deadly kick” for the constitution, while critics accused Congress of trying to guarantee impunity for crimes committed by lawmakers and public officials.
The final approval of the reform, agreed upon in a closed-doors session of the committee, caused wide indignation and the public naming and shaming of the congressmen who approved and amended the government-initiated reform.
The open-door approval of the bill had already been condemned by the opposition, the judicial branch and civilian organizations.
The text of the reform as approved behind closed doors has remained unknown to the public as Senate President Juan Manuel Corzo refused to release the text.
The failing of the justice reform, originally proposed by the Santos administration but thoroughly altered by Congress, forced Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra to resign.