The Colombian Senate will enter its second debate Tuesday over a proposal allowing life sentences for violators and murderers of children, Caracol reported Tuesday.
The bill’s promoter, Senator Gilma Jimenez, said that “Hopefully the senators listen to the clamor of the Colombians and, like in the past, they give a free passage to an unchanged referendum and that the sentators from [Patido de] la U, from the conservative party, from the Radical Change party, the Green Party and the liberals see this proposal.”
The senator expressed that Tuesday is the most important day for the referendum for the children and warned that, in the past, the most difficult debates were in the Senate as opposed to Congress.
Gimenez began championing her referendum in 2009 when she held the office of Bogota city council.
There is currently no death penalty or life imprisonment sentence permitted in Colombia and maximum sentences average between 30 and 40 years. A retired army general was sentenced to 35 years at the end of April for the disappearance of 11 people during the Palace of Justice siege in 1985.
Opponents of Jimenez’s bill argue that a constitutional referendum is not the manner in which the law should be changed, rather it should be decided upon by the people’s representatives in the legislature.
The bill still has many hurdles to overcome in order to be enshrined in law, requiring passage through several more debates and a subsequent review by the Constitutional Court before any possible public referendum over the issue.
The bill has nevertheless surpassed the previous attempt to amend the constitution, after it was struck down in 2010 by the Constitutional Court for procedural problems.