Colombia’s US military pact challenged in court

Colombia‘s Constitutional Court is to review a treaty that gives US forces access to Colombian military bases, following a legal challenge of its unconstitutionality.

The lawsuit brought by a legal group called “Jose Alvear Restrepo,” argue that the October 2009 military accord is invalid since it was signed by the government of President Alvaro Uribe without a prior discussion in Congress, as mandated by the constitution.

They, additionally, accuse Uribe of ignoring the advice of the State Council, the highest court on administrative matters, which has also urged him to allow the congress take up the agreement before it was signed.

The Uribe administration deemed the State Council’s opinion nonbinding arguing that the accord was not a new one but merely an extension of a 1974 military pact with the United States, and as such required no legislative oversight.

The military pact, part of what the US-backed Uribe government calls a joint effort to counter drug trafficking and insurgencies, has been denounced by neighboring Venezuela as US interference in the region, raising tensions between Bogota and Caracas.

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