This past Thursday, January 20, the Plenary Chamber of the Constitutional Court voted on the decriminalization of Abortion in Colombia, resulting in a tie, with four magistrates in favor of this decision and four against. The ninth vote was that of Judge Alejandro Linares, but he had to be separated from the debate after making some statements on this subject in an interview. As there are two processes that seek to decriminalize abortion, the decision will fall on two associate judges, one for each ruling.
The associate judges were selected on February 25, 2021 by the Full Chamber, in case of a tie or lack of necessary quorum. They will have the responsibility to participate in the deliberation and vote for the period between March 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022. They are Juan Carlos Henao and Julio Andrés Ossa Santamaría. They must make the decision that has already been in the Constitutional Court for more than a year and a half.
The Constitutional Court confirmed that, “Since no paper obtained the five votes necessary for its approval, a deputy judge was drawn in each case, with the following result: in file D-13,856, Dr. Juan Carlos Henao was drawn, and in file D-13,956, Dr. Julio Andrés Ossa was drawn.”
Don’t stop reading: Tie in the Constitutional Court on the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia
Juan Carlos Henao is an outstanding jurist, doctor of law with several postgraduate degrees, was also a magistrate of the Constitutional Court and president of the High Court. He was rector of the Externado University of Colombia and one of the negotiators of the National Government in the peace process with the FARC that took place in Havana – Cuba.
He has also been a visiting professor at various universities in France, Professor at the Institut de Hautes Études de Sciences Politiques in Paris and the Institute of Higher Studies in Latin America. He was a professor at the Externado University of the Universidad de los Andes, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and the Universidad del Rosario. He also served as advisor to the office of the National Attorney General and First Attorney delegated to the Council of State.
He is recognized for his liberal positions in the Constitutional Court on issues such as abortion, separation of Church-State, personal dose and same-sex marriage; even He was the author of the report of the ruling that recognized that the couples of the same constitute a family.
Julio Andrés Ossa Santamaría, on the other hand, is a lawyer from the Universidad del Rosario, has studies in philosophy, a specialization in Administrative Law and a master’s degree in legal sciences from the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.
He was an auxiliary magistrate in the Constitutional Court, advisor in the Legal Secretariat of the Palacio de Nariño, comptroller delegate for Citizen Participation of the Comptroller General of the Republic. It also has two publications, ‘The expansion in reverse’ and ‘The process of selecting guardianships in the Constitutional Court: A fight between equality and legal certainty’.
Don’t stop reading: Abortion in Constitutional Court: Just Cause reacts to the tie in the vote
Once they have reviewed the files, the associate judges must determine a position on the matter and argue it before the Full Chamber, which then you must set a session to discuss the matter again, However, for Judge Rojas Ríos, he assures that it is not convenient for the debate to begin next month, since his stay in the high court is until next February 22, when he completes his eight-year term and must leave office.
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