The government appeals to the House of Representatives to approve the Citizen Security project, a series of laws intended to help combat neo-paramilitary gangs.
According to Justice and Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras, the new bill will provide new tools for the prosecutor general and the security forces to tackle criminal organizations and gangs, reports El Espectador.
Included in the bill are laws to make membership with a criminal gang a criminal offense, and to amend laws on the criminal responsibility of adolescents. The measure will increase penalties for adolescents but also ensure that adequate facilities are provided for their rehabilitation.
It will also broaden the offense of arms trafficking and possession to include parts of weapons, and will give the authorities further powers to issue warrants for searches and 24 hour monitoring.
In a statement last Monday, Vargas Lleras said that emerging criminal groups, or “BACRIMs,” as they are called by the government, are increasing their control over large parts of rural Colombia and within cities and are threatening to influence October’s local elections.
If the new measures are passed by the House, the government says it will be able to make a substantial frontal attack on the BACRIM.