The government introduced a bill to provide legal defense for members of the security forces accused of crimes, El Espectador reported Wednesday.
Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera, who introduced the initiative to the House of Representatives, said that the idea is that police and military personnel will not have to mortgage their homes and property in order to defend themselves against charges.
“Never again will a soldier have to jeopardize their children’s inheritance to be able to defend themselves legally. For our military and police personnel it will guarantee adequate judicial representation in criminal and disciplinary matters” said Rivera.
When asked whether the alleged perpetrators of “false positives” or extrajudicial killings can access the legal services, Rivera said that those who have no ruling against them can access defense. However cases such as drugs and weapons trafficking, rape, and other crimes unrelated to military service will not be covered by the Public Defender for the Security Forces.
The Integral Service of the Public Defender of the Security Forces will coordinate with the Human Rights Ombudsman to assign highly accomplished lawyers, under the supervision of a committee that will assess each case on an individual basis.
The committee will be composed of the National Defense Minister, the Vice Minister of Political and International Affairs, and directors and managers from the Directorate of Human Rights (part of the Interior and Justice Ministry) and from the Armed Forces and the National Police.