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Colombia's Supreme Court to Continue Investigating Politicians Suspected of Paramilitary Ties

In October the administration of President Alvaro Uribe withdrew controversial legislation that Human Rights Watch had vigorously criticized. The bill would have impeded investigations of the links between paramilitaries and politicians by eliminating the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over members of Congress. Human Rights Watch has documented crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses committed by the paramilitaries, and the Court has been making real progress in investigating over 60 members of Congress-nearly all from Uribe's coalition-for suspected ties to these groups. The Uribe administration proposed the bill in July 2008 and had strongly promoted it. Human Rights Watch met with the Minister of Interior and Justice to present our reasons for opposing the bill and told authorities we would publicize our analysis in a report. The report covers the unprecedented progress that Colombia's institutions of justice are making in breaking the influence of paramilitaries' mafia-like networks, as well as the many ways in which the Uribe administration has repeatedly undermined that progress. Two days before the report was released in Bogota, President Uribe suddenly announced that he was withdrawing the bill.

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