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Feb 19, 2012 12:26 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

Colombia drops disputed 'military exclusion' plan

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombia's government is dropping a proposed judicial change that would have let military judges decide whether soldiers should be tried for alleged rights abuses. Human rights groups have opposed the measure.

Justice Minister Carlos Esguerra said Saturday the decision not to seek restoration of the "military exclusion" as part of judicial reform legislation was recommended by a commission that included former magistrates and army generals.

Human Rights Watch had campaigned vigorously against the proposal.

Since a scandal broke in 2008 over extra-judicial killings by Colombia's military, 368 soldiers and police officers have been convicted of such killings and 700 more still face charges.

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