Constitutional Background

The country is currently (1998) still troubled by drug cartels and guerilleros controling much of the rural territory. The main guerilla groups are the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Freedom Army) under Commanders Antonio García and Nicolás.

Notwithstanding these problems, Colombia's Constitution -- which we do not yet have on ICL -- might be of some interest for comparative research.  To quote ICL user Diego Lopez-Medina "[A]midst conflict in the country, Colombia's constitutional law has turned out to be exceedingly interesting and forward-looking. People in the region know, and they have come to expect, certain leadership on the part of Colombia's constitutional law. This sounds indeed strange. It is even paradoxical. But that paradox is precisely what makes Colombian constitutional law such an interesting case of study for comparatists all over the world."

The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is led by President Ernesto Samper.

History and News

  • 25 Oct 2003: Referendum on a number of constitutional amendments functioning as a vote of confidence in the government of Uribe; the provisions are targeted at trimming fiscal matters.
  • 7 Aug 1998: End of Samper's four-year term as President. 
  • May 1998: Presidential elections. Alfonso Valdivieso Sarmiento, form prosecutor-general, has announced his candidacy in May 1997. 
  • 12 June 1996: LP dominated parliament votes to set aside allegations of Samper's knowledge of drug money campaigning. 
  • 2 April 1996: Juan Carlos Gaviria, brother of former President Cesar Gaviria, gets kidnapped by anti-Samper criminals. 
  • Aug 1995: Police arrests top man of Cali drug mob, Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela who joined Samper in refusing any financing of the election campaign. 
  • 3 Aug 1995: President Samper gets involved in scandal when his former campaign manager Santiago Medina discloses that Samper instructed him to accept a donation of a Cali drug cartel firm. 
  • Aug 1994, Bogota: Liberal Ernesto Samper wins Presidential Elections. 
  • 1992: After the peace talks failed, ELN Commander Francisco Galán was arrested and tortured by military before being sentenced to 30 years. 
  • 1991: Revision of the Constitution.
  • 1980s: Paramilitary troups, supported by security forces, killed more than 1000 members of the leftist party UP, including their presidential candidate Bernado Jaramillo. 
  • 1964: Foundation of ELN by 16 students.
  • 1886: Colombia adopts the oldest Constitution of Latin America.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.