Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section M. Right to appeal
Colombia’s Constitution (1991) provides: “Any judicial sentence may be appealed or adjudicated, but for exceptions provided by law.”
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 appeal to a higher authority shall be guaranteed at all stages of the proceedings”.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Colombia stated:
218. … [A]dolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years who committed crimes when they were members of armed groups could be subject to criminal charges. However, there have been no such proceedings to date, in application of the principle of prosecutorial discretion, as explained below.
219. In general, the procedures followed in the cases of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 who may have committed punishable acts in Colombia are designed to educate, rehabilitate and protect them, to take into account the difference between adolescents and adults, and to draw upon the specific services offered by the various bodies, competent authorities and programmes.
220. To safeguard their rights, a number of basic procedural principles and guarantees are laid down, including due process, the right to a defence and to contest the charges brought against them, the presumption of innocence, the right to appeal and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the law and international treaties.
221. The question of the liability of children and adolescents who may have committed criminal offences during their participation in illegal armed groups is addressed in conformity with article 17559 of the Code on Children and Adolescents. This article deals with the principle of prosecutorial discretion, which allows the prosecution to waive criminal proceedings against adolescents who were in any way involved in illegal armed groups or participated directly or indirectly in hostilities, armed action, or crimes committed by illegal armed groups, provided that [certain conditions are met].