Colombia’s Supreme Court withdraws support for judicial reform

Colombia’s Supreme Court on Monday retracted its support for judicial reforms currently being debated in the country’s congress, claiming the reforms are an “attack” on Colombia’s democracy.

According to the court, the reform is an “attack on the structure of the democratic state” as defined in Colombia’s constitution.

It follows last month’s withdrawal of support by the State Council, Colombia’s highest adminstrative court.

Following the high court’s statement, Court President Camilo Tarquino asked Congress to sink the proposal.

“We have always said that this proposal does not reform, does not solve the problems of the man in the street … instead we see a refom of powers,” Tarquino told W Radio.

According to the magistrate, judicial checks and balances that were included in Colombia’s 1991 constitution “begin to disappear.”

Colombia’s justice minister said in a response that he “laments” the court’s decision and that “they will be missed” in the further development of the bill in Congress.

Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras added that the government refuses to withdraw the bill, despite court’s decision to boycott the debate.

“The reform will continue its course and we hope that [the Supreme Court] reconsiders the situation. This is such an important and far-reaching project that has been delayed for many years, that I don’t understand how a court can pull away.”

The government’s reform of the justice system is controversial because it proposes to remove human rights abuses by state agents from civilian courts’ jurisdiction, abolish recent legislation to remove a seat in congress from a political party that has a lawmaker removed over criminal proceedings, removes the trials of allegedly criminal Congressmen from the Supreme Court limits the budget of the judicial branch.

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