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The Constitutional Court Can Suspend Laws

Rafael Julian Cifuentes


  • The Constitutional Court held a plenary session to assess suspension of certain sections of Article 2 of Law 2272 of 2022, which amends legislative acts related to State's peace policy. 
  • The court rejected the request for temporary suspension, emphasizing that the petitioner failed to demonstrate an irreversible situation resulting from the application of the provision. 
  • The applicant did not clarify how agreements between the National Government and armed groups would negatively impact the legal conditions established by the law. 
  • While denying temporary suspension, the court clarified its authority to order the suspension of laws to safeguard the 1991 Political Constitution.
The Constitutional Court Can Suspend Laws
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The plenary session of the Constitutional Court of Colombia examined the possibility of suspending certain final parts of Article 2 of Law 2272 of 2022, "which amends, modifies and expands Law 418 of 1997, which expands, modifies and expands Law 548 of 1999, Law 782 of 2002, Law 1106 of 2006, Law 1421 of 2010, Law 1738 of 2014 and Law 1941 of 2018, which defines the State's peace policy, creates the Social Service for Peace and establishes other regulations.

The High Constitutional Tribunal ruled that it was not appropriate to temporarily suspend the last paragraph of Article 2 of Law 2272 of 2022, since the plaintiff had not demonstrated that the application of the provision would cause an irreversible situation. In the present case, the applicant had not been able to explain in what way the agreements between the National Government and the armed criminal structures subject to the jurisdiction, would have a negative impact on the requirement of the regime of conditions established by the Law. Consequently, the request for provisional suspension of the last paragraphs was not granted.

Although the Constitutional Court did not accept the temporary suspension of the final paragraphs of Law 2272 of 2022, it did state that it could order the suspension of laws in order to safeguard the Political Constitution of 1991.

In this respect, the Court has stated that the suspension of laws will take place if the following conditions are met:

It must be an exceptional measure, which means that there must be no other means for preventing the negative effects of the law (or, if there are other means, it must be shown that they are neither effective nor appropriate).

The law in question must be clearly unconstitutional. In other words, it must be evident that said law is against fundamental rights.

There must be evidence that the effects of the law cannot be undone, even if the law is subsequently found to be unconstitutional. A strict proportionality test must be applied to ensure that the measure is appropriate, necessary, and proportionate.

The suspension of a law must be approved by a majority of the Magistrates of the Constitutional Court.

Only if a Magistrate, including the Assistant Constitutional Court Magistrate, so requests, will the request for suspension of the measure be carried out. Therefore, if the petitioning citizen believes that the law should be suspended, he or she must submit the request to a Magistrate.

If the Court agrees to suspend the law, the Plenary Chamber of the Constitutional Court shall determine the extent and duration of the suspension.