Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe criticized the government’s recent decision to allow human rights abuses by security forces to be investigated in civilian courts, on his Twitter account Tuesday.
“The government bill brings a list of offenses that would be excluded from military court jurisdiction without discussion, but others, given the Colombian experience, should not be excluded, such as forced displacement,” the ex-president said in a statement.
Uribe proposed a constitutional reform to establish “mixed commissions” of military and civilian judges, which would settle “jurisdictional disputes” between military and civilian courts.
He also praised senators from the Conservative and National Unity party who had defended the now-withdrawn military reform proposal, which would have seen military court jurisdiction greatly expanded to include all cases of alleged human rights abuses by security forces.
The bill was withdrawn last month following condemnation by critics who said it would “guarantee military impunity”, prompting Uribe to tweet that protection of human rights is better served “with the military stimulated, not stigmatized.”
A new reform package announced by Juan Manuel Santos last week will see soldiers accused of genocide, rape and forced disappearance tried by civilian courts. The government will also be responsible for financing the defense of all soldiers facing criminal charges.