The ICJ Before the Constitutional Court of Colombia

by | Jan 31, 2002 | News

In oral submissions to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, the ICJ today deplored “the National Security Law as a coup d’état against the rule of law”.

The ICJ urges the Court to strike down the law as incompatible with both international human rights law and the Colombian Constitution.

Law 684, also known as the National Security Law, entered into force on 13 August 2001. In October 2001, the ICJ, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch filed a written submission (amicus curiae ) to the Constitutional Court arguing that it strike down the National Security Law. In an unprecedented move, the Court invited the ICJ to present orally its arguments.

The ICJ today reminded the Court that all efforts to fight crime must be consistent with the rule of law and human rights standards. The National Security Law does not meet such requirements as:

  1. It subordinates civilian authorities to the control of the military;
  2. It creates a new “National Power” which undermines the separation of powers and the distinction between the State and civil society;
  3. It creates a de facto state of emergency. This is incompatible with international obligations on the declaration of a state of emergency, the Colombian Constitution and Law 137 which regulates states of emergency in Colombia; and
  4. It grants police and judicial powers to the armed forces. This is incompatible with Colombia’s international obligation to guarantee exhaustive, immediate, independent, and impartial investigations by the regular judiciary of human rights abuses committed against civilians. This principle is also supported by jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.

The ICJ welcomes the opportunity afforded by the Court to provide oral submissions and reiterates its call on the Court to strike down the National Security Law in accordance with international law and its own constitutional obligations.


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