Colombia's incoming leftist president to push for major police reforms
Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro is planning to push for major police and justice system reforms when he takes office next month.
State of play: Petro wants to move national police from the Defense Ministry to a yet-to-be created peace ministry.
- Under the Defense Ministry, the national police force has become more militarized and there's been little accountability for police brutality, experts say.
Petro also wants to eliminate a major branch of the federal attorney general’s office called the procuraduría.
- Petro plans to replace the procuraduría, which deals with administrative sanctions on officials, with an anti-corruption office. Esteban Salazar, chief researcher of policy and governance for the nonpartisan think tank Fundación Pares, tells Axios Latino the procuraduría has been used for political retribution.
- Petro also wants to increase prosecution of unpunished killings and acts of violence by criminal groups, as well as violence against women and children.
- In addition, he wants to prioritize rehabilitation to reduce the prison population and recidivism.
Driving the news: Despite the fact that he's not in office yet, Colombia’s Congress will consider Petro-backed changes to the national police when it starts its session on Wednesday.
- Petro probably has the votes needed to pass legislation, thanks to newly formed coalitions with centrist parties.
Between the lines: Colombia’s justice system has been criticized for being ineffective in a country marked by a 50-year conflict and enduring violence even after a peace deal was signed in 2016.
- Fewer than 1% of criminal cases are resolved, Salazar said.
What they’re saying: If Petro manages to get even 10% of his overall measures through, "he’ll already have done more than has been done in the past 50 years in this country in that regard,” Salazar said.
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