Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Colombia’s Circular on Fundamental Rules of IHL (1992) provides: “Each person shall benefit from the fundamental judicial guarantees.”
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states: “To protect [non-combatants] means … to offer the necessary conditions for a fair trial before a competent tribunal, so that the requirement of due process is guaranteed.”
Colombia’s Instructors’ Manual (1999) provides: “Whoever is deprived of his liberty has the right to a legal trial.”
The manual adds: “Nobody can be tried except in conformity with laws in force before the imputed act and by a judge or a competent tribunal, and in full compliance with all rules for each trial.”
Colombia’s Soldiers’ Manual (1999) provides: “Whoever is deprived of liberty has the right to a legal trial.”
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) provides for the punishment of anyone who during an armed conflict “orders or deprives protected persons of their right to a fair and regular trial”.
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.
The Court also found:
Rule 7.1 [of the “Beijing Rules”] provides a list of minimum procedural guarantees to be respected in all cases involving the prosecution of minors for violating criminal law: “Basic procedural safeguards such as … the right to the presence of a parent or guardian … shall be guaranteed at all stages of the proceedings”.
The Court further held:
Rule 14 [of the “Beijing Rules”] sets forth in general terms the obligation to respect the right to due process and the principle of best interests of the child in any criminal prosecution of minors by stating:
Any minor who is prosecuted for violating criminal law must be granted all basic procedural guarantees that are afforded to any person in light of the right to due process. The fact that he or she is a minor does not justify limiting such rights but rather is the reason for placing stricter requirement on the authorities so that they ensure the effective exercise of such rights.