government: republic; executive branch dominates government structure
state of civil and political rights: Partly free
constitution: 5 July 1991; amended many times
legal system: based on Spanish law; new Penal Code, modelled on US equivalent, recently introduced
legislative system: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (Senado) and the House of Representatives (Camara de Representantes)
judicial system: Supreme Court of Justice; Council of State ; Constitutional Court ; Superior Judicial Council
religion: 90% Catholic; other 10%
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
American Convention on Human Rights
Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
Colombia abolished the death penalty in 1910. The last execution took place in 1909.
The 1886 Constitution does not provide for the death penalty neither does the revised Constitution introduced in 1991 that states at Art. 11: "The right to life is inviolable. There will be no death penalty."
Colombia is still dealing with the decades-long civil conflict that began in the 1960s with a left-wing insurgence against the state. It pits the state against two leading Marxist rebel groups - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and National Liberation Army (ELN) – and the paramilitaries, mainly the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), formed in 1997 by drug-traffickers and landowners to combat rebel kidnappings and extortion, and now considered the most brutal of the factions involved in the conflict. Both paramilitaries and guerrillas are involved in drug-smuggling and Colombia is also the world’s kidnap capital. Elements in the army and police back the paramilitaries and the state armed forces have been accused of execution-style killings in their war on the guerrillas. The violence has claimed over 35,000 lives since 1995, and millions of Colombians have been forced to flee their homes. President Alvaro Uribe, who came to power in May 2002, has cracked down on both rebels and paramilitaries and the drug trade, but with little success so far.
On December 19, 2016, Colombia co-sponsored and voted again in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.