According to a 2016 Amnesty article, the Chile justice system encourages brutality from the security forces because

Chile’s military courts, which deal with cases of human rights violations committed by members of the security forces, regularly fail to adequately investigate and prosecute officers that are suspected of having committed a crime. Trials in these courts usually lack the most basic levels of independence and impartiality. [...]

Police officers seem to be fully aware that beating and shooting civilians will have few or no consequences.

Congress is yet to debate a draft law that would give civilian courts jurisdiction over cases of human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces and the police.

Is this "two tier" justice system present in other Latin American countries?

1 Answer 1


Latin America has a long-time military government. Most of the countries (all of them?) has some military background, which grew being authority and, therefore, has their own judicial system. And yes, in Latin America there are several countries with two judicial system for the military but considering what country you want to analyze, the cases are different.

In order to understand the cases, worth mention that systems has different kind of crimes:

  • Institutional faults: Against their colleagues or the military institution.
  • Against the military discipline: When a military violate an institutional rule. Very similar to the other but with the small difference that we talking about different branches (Army against Navy). This type of fault is ambiguous and tend to generate confusions.

According to each country, they have some similarities and differences when it comes to discipline and crimes. According to studies of the Latin America Security and Defence Network, we have three cases about military systems:

Case 1: Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras

In these countries, there two types of code: the military justice law for crimes and/or penal procedures in one hand; a disciplinary book on the other hand.

Case 2: Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia

There are separate laws, specifying the conditions of military sanction (penal punishment) or military sanction (internal faults, institutional faults).

Case 3: Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela

In addition mentioned before in case 1, there are also specific legal tools which regulates the military forum as a body. Paraguay for example the Paraguay's Military Law stipulates faults and sanctions in the military area and also a special section about the discipline and the sanctions if someone violates it.

The Chilean case is worth to mention the normative about which specific sector of the military you want to regulate, given that Army forces has a differentiated rule for the Army and the Air Force among others.

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