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Colombia court nixes military justice reform

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October 23, 2013 09:23 PM EST | AP


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — In a blow to Colombia's government, the country's Constitutional Court has struck down an expansion of the military justice system that human rights activists had said would lead to greater impunity for armed forces members.

The 5-to-4 decision Wednesday is not subject to appeal.

The court declared unconstitutional a statute that would have submitted to an expanded military justice system all but seven types of violations of international humanitarian law.

President Juan Manuel Santos was seen as promoting the law to win the backing of Colombia's military for peace talks that began last year with the country's main rebel group.

Human Rights Watch and other critics said the law had too many loopholes and could allow members the military to evade justice for such crimes as extrajudicial killings.