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Cablegate: Private Plaintiffs Challenge Constitutionality of Dca

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DE RUEHBO #0291 0482146
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 172146Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2852
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 000291

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/17
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV MCAP PTER PHUM CO
SUBJECT: PRIVATE PLAINTIFFS CHALLENGE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF DCA

CLASSIFIED BY: Mark Wells, Political Counselor, Department of State,
Political Section; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) On February 12, officials from the Colombian Ministry of
Defense (MOD) informed us that private plaintiffs filed two
separate petitions with the Constitutional Court dated November 12,
2009, challenging the constitutionality of the U.S.-Colombia
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The plaintiffs were unknown
to the Embassy; MOD officials said that they suspected NGOs were
behind the petitions.

2. (C) The petitions argue that, under the Constitution, the DCA
should have been approved by the Colombian Congress and the
Constitutional Court, as it creates new obligations and exceeds the
scope of prior international agreements. The plaintiffs cited
several articles of the Constitution in the petitions, including
Article 150, section 16 (which grants Congress the power to approve
treaties); Article 173, section 4 (which grants the Senate the
power to permit the transit of foreign troops); and Article 240,
section 10 (which grants the Constitutional Court the power to
review international treaties, and which further provides that any
citizen may challenge the constitutionality of such treaties).

3. (C) MOD officials stressed that the DCA is not a treaty but
instead a "simplified agreement" -- which the Colombian executive
branch had full authority to negotiate and sign. The officials
indicated that in the past, the Constitutional Court has refused to
accept petitions challenging simplified agreements, and the MOD
expects the Court to uphold this precedence in these cases.
However, should the Constitutional Court accept the cases for
review, the officials told us that they are prepared to reject the
petitioners' allegations point-by-point. MOD officials indicated
that they will be meeting internally soon to analyze these cases.
BROWNFIELD

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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