—Carlos Bernal, Professor, University of Dayton School of Law; Diego González, Deputy Justice, Constitutional Court; Maria Fernanda Barraza, LL.M. Candidate, Cornell University; Sebastián Rubiano-Groot, Law Clerk, Constitutional Court
2020 was one of the most eventful years in the recent history of Colombia. During the first trimester, civil society, public authorities, and private actors, faced critical challenges related to the unprecedented social demonstrations that spread out across the country. Though the first mobilizations took place on November 2019, the so-called “National Strike” lasted unexpectedly until March 2020 and shaped a national movement, which since then has asked for a “national dialogue”. In March, the Covid-19 virus reached Colombia and generated catastrophic social and economic disruptions. It posed unparalleled challenges to national and local public authorities and gave rise to the President´s declaration of a State of Exception. What started as a health emergency rapidly grew into an economic and social crisis, which brought about decisive legal decisions that raised important constitutional questions. In this context, all branches of government took part in the decisions about the appointments of high officials and defined the current composition of some of the most important public institutions.
In this report, we discuss how these challenges shaped 2020 in Colombia. First, this report focuses on how social protests, the Covid-19 emergency, and the appointments of high officials led to important constitutional debates and political concerns regarding the separation of power in Colombia. In particular, the report portrays the President´s exercise of extraordinary powers twice during 2020 to control and to prevent the spread of the virus as well as to mitigate its impacts. Secondly, this report analyses the Court´s main rulings on the most emblematic Covid-19 Legislative Decrees. Finally, this report addresses the Court´s cases relating to women´s reproductive rights and gender equality, animal rights, freedom of the press and information in contexts of closed criminal proceedings, and the public surveillance implications on the right to privacy.Read the rest of this entry…