Amicus curiae submitted to the Constitutional Court of Colombia

09.09.15 | |

On 26th August 2015,  Jelia Sane,  together with Smita Shah and Paul Clarke of Garden Court International , submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Colombian Constitutional Court on behalf of the UK based NGO ABC Colombia.  This  intervention is in the context of a challenge,  brought by a number of domestic and international human rights groups,  to a constitutional amendment  (Acto Legislativo no.1 2015) which aims to reform the jurisdiction of Colombia’s military courts.  In particular, the Acto seeks   to abolish  the  application of international human rights law to the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by the army and  police in connection with the civil war, leaving such conduct to be regulated by international humanitarian law alone.


This approach is at odds  with established principles of public international law and with the jurisprudence of the ICJ, ECtHR and IACtHR which have  long recognised that human rights do not automatically fall silent in times of war. In the wake of the ‘false positives’ scandal, the interveners are concerned that in practice this reform will serve to exacerbate the already sky high levels of impunity in Colombia and deny victims of human rights violations their rights to justice, truth and reparations.


Amnesty International, Lawyers Without Borders Canada, the World Organisation Against Torture  and the International Commission of Jurists also intervened in the case.

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