Garden Court International amicus brief helps ensure Colombian military accountability for human rights abuses

Wednesday 2 March 2016

An amicus brief, led by Garden Court International (GCI), has helped to ensure that the Colombian military will continue to be accountable for any human rights abuses they commit.

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The Colombian Constitutional Court has ruled that both international humanitarian law and human rights law apply to the investigation and prosecution of criminal acts by the military. In so doing, the court accepted submissions made in an amicus brief produced by Paul Clark of Garden Court International, Smita Shah, a former member of Garden Court International, and Jelia Sane of Doughty Street Chambers.

During a reformation of its military justice system last year, the Colombian Government had sought to disapply international human rights law during armed conflict. This would have effectively removed accountability for human rights violations, such as disappearances and extra-judicial executions, carried out by the armed forces and the police. The amicus brief argued that the Government’s proposed amendment would be at odds with established principles of public international law.

We are delighted to see that the Court accepted our submission. This is a vital judgment, which strengthens the fight against the drive to reverse the 'civilianisation' of the armed forces, which are rightly subject to human rights standards as well as humanitarian standards.


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