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A decree exempts the Bolivian armed forces from criminal responsibility in case of “legitimate defense”

November 17, 2019

Police deployed in front of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia (File Image) – REUTERS / DAVID MERCADO – Archive

Former President Morales considers it a “white card” to “massacre”

A decree signed by the self-proclaimed interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, exempts the Armed Forces of the country from criminal responsibility if they act in “legitimate defense or state of necessity.”

“The personnel of the Armed Forces that participate in the operations for the restoration of internal order and public stability will be exempt from criminal responsibility when, in fulfilling their functions, they act in legitimate defense or state of necessity,” as can be read in the document , collected by 'Page Seven'.

At least 16 people have died during the protests in Bolivia after the October 20 elections in the country, nine of them in Cochabamba, two in La Paz, four in Santa Cruz and one in Potosí.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has referred to the decree issued and described it as “serious.” Likewise, he has indicated in his Twitter account that “he does not know the international standards of Human Rights and because of his style he stimulates violent repression.”

“The scope of this type of decree contravenes the obligation of States to investigate, prosecute, prosecute and punish violations of Human Rights,” the agency added.

“The IACHR condemns any administrative act of the Government of Bolivia that violates the right to truth, justice and International Human Rights Law, particularly in the context of actions by the Armed Forces in social protests,” he said.

Along the same lines as the IACHR, the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who has criticized the decree, expressing it as a “white letter of impunity to slaughter the people.”

“The authors of the coup d'etat in Bolivia govern with decrees, without the Legislative and supported by the weapons and bayonets of Police and Armed Forces,” Morales denounced in his Twitter account. “This is the true dictatorship that slaughters without mercy,” he added.

In this context, the Minister of Defense of Bolivia, Fernando López, has defended the decree this Saturday and has questioned the IACHR for criticizing it without taking into account “what Bolivia is experiencing.”

“I think that the Commission's perception is biased and it also seems that it does not know what Bolivia is going through, there are armed subversive groups, with weapons of a large caliber,” López said, according to 'La Razón Digital'. “So, it's totally out of focus, of the current situation, it's that simple,” he has settled.

Also the minister of the Presidency of Bolivia, Xerxes Justiniano, has defended the decree. He clarified that “it is not a license to kill, it is a deterrent.”

“The decree has a constitutional basis, since the Armed Forces, according to the Constitution, its purpose is to contribute to the national order,” Justiniano said, according to 'Page Seven'.

“This decree authorizes the Armed Forces to contribute to order,” he insisted. “What this decree does is precisely to ratify what is already established in the penal code, which in no way becomes a license to kill, no,” Justiniano stressed, while stating that “what he intends the Government is to avoid confrontation and avoid death. ”

“CONSTERNATION” IN THE GOVERNMENT

For its part, the Government of Áñez has expressed on Saturday its “dismay” for the deaths recorded this Friday in Sacaba, while denouncing that Morales promoted the mobilization.

“The country is convulsing and that we Bolivians claim before the world. We are not in the mood to be confronting or murdering Bolivians,” the self-proclaimed interim president of the country has apostilled, the Bolivian news agency ABI has collected.

The political crisis in Bolivia broke out after the presidential elections held on October 20. Morales proclaimed his victory while the opposition denounced a “gigantic fraud.” The audit of the Organization of American States (OAS) has confirmed “irregularities.”

Morales resigned on Sunday and arrived in Mexico on Tuesday as a political asylum. Áñez has proclaimed himself interim president to avoid the power vacuum left by the resignation of the indigenous leader and other senior officials, ensuring that his goal is to hold new elections.