Court orders Colombia military to end illegal recruitment of soldiers

Posted on Mar 11 2014 - 7:23pm by Rico

Colombia’s State Council on Tuesday called on the country’s Defense Minister and military to train personnel and stop the illegal recruiting of citizens who are exempt from military service. 

Due to cases of irregular recruitment of young people, the high court requested that the army train its members accordingly in order to comply with the rules of the recruitment process, taking into account the respect for the fundamental rights of Colombian citizens, newspaper El Espectador reported.

According to the case highlighted by the State Council, a high school graduate already enrolled in University had given the required papers to the military in order to evade the country’s compulsory military service, but was recruited and transferred to the Bogota battalion.

Although the young man in question presented the required University papers in June 2013 confirming his enrollment in the course — and in turn exempting him from the service — the authorities rejected them and he was transferred to the designated military post against his will and the law.

According to the presentation of the report by Magistrate Gustavo Gomez, “the armed forces may not recruit a citizen when he has fulfilled his obligation to register for military service,” RCN Radio reported.

The report presented by the State Council ordered the Ministry of Defense and the army to publish — in military posts and centers — all military requirements and other government rules outlining the obligations and duties by both the state and the citizens in regards to military service, Caracol news reported.

Law 48 of 1993 requires all Colombian 18-year old males “to define their military situation” to the proper authorities, that is present the required papers which may excuse them from service — except for high school students — who are required to do so after obtaining their high school diploma.

The army has used parts of the law that says that allow the military to detain citizens “when [a Colombian man] becomes an adult without having fulfilled this obligation [of serving in the military], the authority can compel him subject to the application of sanctions that are established in this law.”

However, it is exactly this article which was deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in 2011, meaning the army must not force a Colombian civilian that refuses military duty through the legal system.

MORE: Colombian army ignores court, continues to recruit soldiers in forbidden raids


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