The Armed Forces and the National Civil Police are not armed groups but are institutions expressly authorized by the Constitution, and therefore the proposed change cannot refer to them.
One of the reforms proposed by Vice President Felix Ulloa that worries lawyers and human rights defenders is one that refers to armed groups.
Currently, the last paragraph of Article 7 of the Republic’s Constitution expressly prohibits armed groups: “The existence of armed groups of a political, religious or union nature is prohibited,” as stated in the phrase.
However, the draft proposal of the Special Committee states: “The presence of armed groups is prohibited, except in cases provided by law.”
This addition, according to the lawyers consulted, is troubling, because it does not specify which armed groups it can refer to, except for what could specifically open the door to the existence of other types of armed groups.
Constitutional lawyer Enrique Anaya explains: “It is important to understand that neither the armed forces nor the Palestinian National Council are armed groups: they are institutions directly authorized under the constitution, not armed groups as such.”
For Faqih, it is important that Ulloa or the ad hoc team make clear the intent to add this subsection.
“It is not clear here what it means. I am not clear .. I am frankly afraid of what the law will stipulate in the cases.”
Due to the paucity of information and due to the authoritarian traits shown by the government of Nep Bukele, the lawyer fears that this subsection will open the door to armed groups, such as the regimes of Hugo Chávez-Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela or that. the Cuban system. for Castros.
“Given the authoritarian nature of the current administration, this forces us to speculate … I don’t know if it is referring to Cuban neighborhood committees or Bolivarian defense circles,” Anaya said.
The lawyer goes further, although he explained that this was speculation due to a lack of information, and said he feared it was a kind of legitimizing gangs.
“If we add the circumstances in which there are press investigations that there are negotiations between this administration and the gangs and if we take into account the Supreme Court whether or not it will decide to extradite the gangsters … it is purely speculation. I do not attribute it but I do not know if he will look for a mechanism What to legitimize gangs with quotes in order to legitimize negotiations… We don’t know. Speculation was generated because we did not discuss these issues.”
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So far, Vice President Felix Ulloa has met with some sectors about the proposed changes for a week, although he did not specify if there was a chance of making changes to the wording of the proposed articles.
Celia Medrano, a human rights lawyer, has expressed concern about the open door this reform leaves if it is approved as is.
“The proposed reform of Article 7 of the Constitution leaves a very dangerous ambiguity by attempting to remove the clear prohibition on the presence of armed groups of a political nature. He said that the proposed reform seeks to leave open the existence of armed groups of a political nature, except in cases provided for by an unspecified law.
Medrano puts his finger on the line, taking into account the intentions shown by the political actors associated with this government.
“This can be understood in different ways depending on the publicly manifested intentions of actors associated with the current government administration. The Secretary of Defense has already asked the government committee that is drawing up constitutional reforms to lift restrictions on members of the armed forces to participate in politics. Congressman Gallegos also accused of supporting the formation of Armed civilian groups are supposed to confront the organized crime actors responsible for causing the forced displacement.”
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