Court Orders US Troops Out of Colombia

July 5th, 2020 - by teleSUR English

On June 1, 2020, the US sent 53 soldiers to assist the military in counternarcotics operations (Photo: EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas)

US Military In Colombia Has To Stop Operations: Court Rules

teleSUR English

BOGOTA (July 2, 2020) — When it comes to the entrance of foreign troops into the country, the decision has to be debated in the Senate first, a procedure that Ivan Duque deliberately violated.

The Third Section of the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca, Colombia, ruled on Wednesday in favor of a legal action issued by opposition senators against president Ivan Duque, regarding the presence in the country of US military troops.

In Colombia, citizens are allowed to appeal under a rule named Tutela Action, by which citizens can demand respect for their constitution. When it comes to the entrance of foreign troops into the country, the decision has to be debated first in the Senate, a procedure that Ivan Duque deliberately violated.

“1. ATTENTION: Magistrate BERTHA LUCY CEBALLOS POSADA in Judgment of our tutelage ordered the President of the Republic, Iván Duque Márquez, who is within 48 hours SUBMIT information to the Senate on the permanence of the US Army Brigade.”

After senators Iván Cepeda, Castro, Roosvelt Rodríguez, Antonio Sanguino, José Ritter López, Wilson Arias, Guillermo García Realpe, Victoria Sandino, Temístocles Ortega, Narváez, Aida Avella, Gustavo Petro Urrego, Alexander López Maya, Criselda Lobo Silva, Alberto Castilla, Julián Gallo, Jorge Londoño, Iván Marulanda, Feliciano Valencia, Jorge Guevara, Angélica Lozano Correa, Gustavo Bolívar, José Aulo Polo Narváez, Jorge Robledo, Israel Zúñiga, Pablo Catatumbo and Andrés Cristo issued the demand, Cundinamarca´s court has backed the plaintiffs.

On June 1, 2020, the US sent 53 soldiers of a so-called Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) to Colombia to assist the military in counternarcotics operations in war-torn areas.

After the demand, Magistrate Bertha Lucy Ceballos Posada issued a ruling by which the President of the Republic is given 48 hours to report to the Senate information on the presence of SFAB in Colombian territory as well as suspending all activity of the US brigade within the country.

Colombia Will Contest Court Order Suspending Activities of US Troops

Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb / Reuters

BOGOTA (July 3, 2020) — Colombia’s government said on Friday it will challenge a court order to suspend the activities of a US army unit advising its military in the fight against drug trafficking. 

The decision by the administrative tribunal of Cundinamarca province, released late on Thursday, came after opposition lawmakers alleged the Senate should have authorized the presence of the Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), which arrived in June for a four-month stay. 

Opposition lawmakers involved in the suit argue the constitution requires any movement of foreign troops within Colombia be approved by the Senate. They had hailed the ruling late on Thursday. 

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said the SFAB’s presence does not require authorization by lawmakers, and that the 53 members of the unit are assisting and advising four Colombian units. 

“There aren’t troop movements here, it is important to point out it’s about issues related to military international cooperation,” Trujillo said in a virtual press conference. 

 “The government will contest this ruling and continue carrying out, for reasons of national security, all of the work of bi-national cooperation with the United States, which includes the betterment of our capacities through training and technical advice,” Trujillo added. 

While the nation’s highest administrative tribunal, the Council of State, hears the challenge, the government will analyze with the United States Embassy how to comply with the lower tribunal’s ruling, Trujillo said. 

He would not clarify whether the SFAB would leave the country in the meantime. The embassy directed all questions to the Colombian government. 

Despite decades of anti-narcotics efforts, Colombia is one of the world’s top cocaine producers and faces constant US pressure to reduce cultivation. 

Its potential production of cocaine was up by 1.5% last year to 1,137 metric tonnes, the United Nations said last month, even as areas planted with primary ingredient coca decreased. 

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