Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section E. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
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  Geneva Conventions and in their  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.
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.
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.