Practice Relating to Rule 155. Defence of Superior Orders
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states:
Under the terms of Chapter IX of the First Geneva Convention relative to the repression of abuses and infractions, IHL establishes the principle of individual responsibility, that is to say, that acting pursuant to superior orders does not relieve the person of his responsibility for the grave breaches he may commit.
Colombia’s Directive No. 10 (2007), whose objective is to prevent the killing of protected persons, states: “The order of a superior does not exempt the person who … carries out the order from individual criminal responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law.”
In 1997, in reply to a report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Torture, the Colombian Government referred to its decision to present to Congress the reform of the military criminal justice system beginning in March 1997. As to the defence of obedience to superior orders, it stated that it “could only be invoked when the act was the result of a legitimate order and did not infringe fundamental rights”.