The approval of the project Nain Retamal lawwhich increases the penalties for crimes committed against officers of the Carabineros, Investigative Police and Gendarmerie, and establishes the privileged legitimate defense in actions related to the use of force, would have serious consequences for human rights, warned Amnesty International.
“Advancing in the reinforcement of the police and the prevention of crime in the country is necessary, but such a complex problem needs to be addressed seriously, responsibly and based on international human rights standards. The express processing of the project, far from addressing the structural problems that afflict the Carabineros and that emerged dramatically in the 2019 crisis, is an opportunistic response, which would imply a huge setback in terms of human rights “mentioned Rodrigo Bustosexecutive director of Amnesty International Chile.
Amnesty International considers it essential that the Senate amend this error and that the Government fulfill its commitment and introduce the necessary modifications to correct the flaws in the bill in the upper chamber. Establishing a kind of legal presumption in favor of the police, even when there may be human rights violations, is really dangerous.
In its current form, the Nain Retamal project validates a disproportionate use of force, transgressing the principles of necessity and proportionality, and international jurisprudence on the subject of both the United Nations Treaty Bodies and the Inter-American Human Rights System. In addition, the new grounds for legitimate defense may limit the exercise of judicial guarantees for victims of human rights violations, since the wording of the regulations is very ambiguous and favors the subjective interpretation of the official involved in the events, when establishing whether or not self-defense is legitimized.
“The Chilean authorities have forgotten that an effective way to protect both citizens and police officers is by implementing a comprehensive reform of the Carabineros. Ignoring the real needs for transformation that the institution requires means losing a historic opportunity that was forged with the suffering of thousands of victims during the social outbreak.manifested Erika Guevara Rosasdirector for the Americas of Amnesty International.
The extreme speed that has characterized the legislative process of this regulation arises after the murder of two police officers, serious crimes that Amnesty International condemns and that must be duly investigated and punished. However, any attempt to advance public security must violate human rights, and both perspectives must be included in the discussion.
On the other hand, justifying the approval of this project by stating that it will increase security is not only wrong, but also increases the risk of police abuses and that these go unpunished. Although it is necessary to have protection mechanisms for law enforcement officials, these must be based on the protection of human rights, establishing clear limits and providing staff with adequate tools to carry out their work.
After the serious and generalized human rights violations that were committed in the context of the social outbreak by the Carabineros, a consensus was reached on the urgency of a comprehensive reform of the police, with which the government had said it was in agreement. However, more than three years after the massive protests, progress in this area is minimal. A police reform must contemplate, among other aspects, adequate preparation, resources and tools to exercise force, when necessary in a proportional and progressive manner, and assuming command responsibility for the results of the interventions. On the other hand, it should consider greater civil control and an update of protocols that have respect for human rights as their central axis.
“Under the imminent Nain Retamal law, human rights violations and crimes under international law, as terrible as those committed during the social outbreak, could reoccur more frequently and with less possibility of being adequately punished, since the ‘privileged’ cause ‘ It also inverts the burden of proof making it the victim who must prove that this exemption does not apply. We urge the authorities to reconsider and make efforts to ensure that the Nain Retamal Law is not a source of abuse and impunity, and that progress is made towards a comprehensive reform of the Carabineros institution, as the Executive promised in its program of government”concluded Rodrigo Bustos.