Related Rule
Colombia
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides:
IHL rules favour especially the civilian population so that assistance and protection, which the parties to the conflict shall bring, are given in priority to the most vulnerable persons or groups of persons, who are: children, … 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 25.
The manual further states, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Care and aid shall be provided to children.” 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 74.
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Minors are the subject of different levels of especial protection under international humanitarian law which are relevant in situations of internal armed conflict such as the one in Colombia; thus (i) minors are protected as part of the civilian population, (ii) in addition they receive special protection due to their status as especially vulnerable members of the civilian population. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 4.5.4.2.1.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens status, … [include] the obligation to protect the special rights of children affected by armed conflict. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 112.
[footnote in original omitted]
In a statement before the Human Rights Committee in 1988, the representative of Colombia reported that the child vaccination campaigns in Colombia had served as a model in other States, including El Salvador, where hostilities had been suspended in order to allow children to be vaccinated. 
Colombia, Statement before the Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SR.819, 14 July 1988, § 8.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that education shall be provided to children. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 74.
In 2006, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Colombia’s third periodic report, Colombia stated:
By way of educational assistance to children who find themselves in situations of forced displacement as a result of violence, the Ministry of National Education, in coordination with the Education Secretariats, ICBF [Colombian Family Welfare Institute] and other government ministries and bodies, acts to ensure that they are incorporated in the school system. In this way, children are provided with a traditional-style education or instruction based on flexible educational models offering relevant alternative solutions in keeping with the dispersed and mobile nature of the population. 
Colombia, Written replies by the Government of Colombia to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning the list of issues formulated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in connection with its consideration of the third periodic report of Colombia, 26 April 2006, UN Doc. CRC/COL/Q/3/Add.1, p. 56.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “All measures shall be taken in order to temporarily transfer the children to safety zones, accompanied by persons responsible for their safety.” 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 74.
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Criminal prosecutions of minors must strictly comply with the minimum constitutional and international norms found in (i) Article 44 of the Constitution [and] (ii) the Beijing Rules or “the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice” … They all include standards that must be complied with as part of the Colombian domestic legal framework, as expressly stated in Article 44 of the Constitution according to which children are entitled to the totality of rights found in international instruments. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 4.6.2; see also § 4.2.5.
The Court also found: “Rule 17 [of the ‘Beijing Rules’] states that … capital punishment shall not be imposed for any crime committed by minors.” 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 4.2.5.1.15.
(footnote in original omitted )
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
The legal and institutional response to the problem of demobilising underage combatants should be geared towards resocialization, rehabilitation, education and protection. This conclusion is based both on international and constitutional sources: (i) On one hand, it is a State obligation to promote the best interests of the child as well as the special protection and fundamental rights of minors, in their capacity as particularly vulnerable victims of the armed conflict and a war crime [of recruiting children into the armed forces or armed groups]. (ii) On the other hand, both Article 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol as well as the various provisions in Article 3 common to the [1949] Geneva Conventions and in their [1977] Additional Protocol II bind the State to implement programmes aimed at resocializing, rehabilitating, educating and protecting minors that have been affected by the armed conflict, thus promoting the eventual reincorporation of such minors into an ordinary civilian life in their communities of origin. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 6.2.
The Court also held:
The mere participation of a child or adolescent in acts of violence committed by underage combatants will necessarily have grave psychological and social effects that demand an especially strong response from the State in terms of protection and rehabilitation, an objective to which determining the criminal responsibility of each minor and confronting the minor with the facts can contribute as well as the full implementation of the different steps of the process of reconciliation with the community, the society and the State. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 6.4.3; see also § 8.1.
In 2004, in its third periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Colombia stated:
586. In dealing with the armed conflict situation, the Government conducts, since 1999, intersectoral programmes for the disengagement of minors from the conflict and their social reintegration. The main goal is to provide disengaged minors with support for reorganizing their lives.
587. The Assistance programme for armed-conflict victims is mainly implemented through specialized centres, where the young people in question receive assistance and advice for social rehabilitation. The following modules are used:
588. Transition homes: This programme’s current first phase consists in providing assistance to boys and girls by court decision or Family Ombudsman decision; and conducting psychological and social assessments to determine host conditions in view of socialization.
589. Specialized assistance centres: The goal of this initiative is the restoration of infringed human rights through comprehensive (vocational, sport, academic, cultural and employment-related areas) assistance for minors. Minors undergo medical and psychological assessments in view of arrangements for embarking on the life plan to lead and facilitating their social inclusion.
590. Houses of the adolescent: This initiative aims at facilitating the socialization process, thereby contributing to social integration.
591. Social and family-related assistance measures can be classified under two headings: Home mentoring, a phase in which disengaged minors and other young people – after receiving assistance in transition homes, specialized assistance centres or houses of the adolescent – live in a foster family environment when it is impossible to return to their own families; and Family reintegration, a phase in which the children or young people concerned – subject to a diagnostic assessment by the establishment – return to their home of origin or stay with relatives.
592. Assistance programmes focus on family, social, cultural and economic integration. Generally speaking, priority is given to the safety of the disengaged person and his or her family. Family integration requires identifying a suitable family for the child or adolescent to facilitate basic contact in view of further reintegration. Conceptually and methodologically, orientation aims to respond appropriately to the phenomenon by strengthening family and community networks in order to ensure support that meets the particular needs of the given population group. 
Colombia, Third periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 24 August 2005, UN Doc. CRC/C/Add.129, submitted 28 June 2004, §§ 586–592.