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Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:47 AM

Colombia military reform slammed by rights groups

Colombia military reform slammed by rights groups
By FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press
Updated 10:03 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) Against strong objections from rights activists, Colombia's Congress overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday night to give military courts greater jurisdiction over crimes committed by armed forces members.

Colombia's military has a checkered human rights record that has in the past led U.S. lawmakers to selectively withhold aid from tainted units.

Winning final approval in the Senate by a 57-7 vote, the law is widely considered a gesture by President Juan Manuel Santos to placate the military brass, whose support he needs in peace talks with Colombia's largest leftist rebel group to end a half-century-old conflict.

Santos is expected to sign the legislation this week.


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