National Implementation of IHL
Constitutional Court – Judgement SU 599 - 2019 (victims of sexual violence in armed conflict)
Corte Constitucional - Sentencia SU 599 - 2019

Constitutional Court of Colombia (last accessed on 28.02.2020)

On 11 December 2019, the Constitutional Court delivered a judgment in the case of Helena (an ex FARC member) who claimed that the Victims Unit (UARIV) violated her fundamental rights to health, personal integrity, and integral reparation as a victim of the armed conflict. The UARIV refused to recognize Helena as a victim of forced recruitment, forced abortion and displacement based on article 3 of Law 1448-2011 (Victims Law), which establishes that “members of organized armed groups shall not be considered victims, except in cases where children leave the group being minors”. The Court held that the State has the duty to guarantee victims of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict access to comprehensive reparation measures, recognizing their quality as victims of the armed conflict. Moreover, the Court stated that Art 3. of Law 1448 could not become an obstacle to receiving reparations for victims of sexual violence, who were former membres of the armed group but, at the same time, victims of forced recruitment. The Court contended this decision achieved a balance between the application of the legal system and the States obligations under international humanitarian law and international criminal law.

Key Words: sexual violence within armed groups, forced recruitment

Note: The full decision of the Constitutional Court was published on 11 February 2020.

File TypeSizeFile Name
application/pdf 1,080 KB Colombia - Sexual violence decision CCC, 2019 [SP].pdf
application/pdf 239 KB Comunicado No. 50 - Sentencia SU-599-19.pdf