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Colombia: Constitutional Provisions and Treaty Obligations
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Constitutional Provisions and Treaty Obligations > Constitutional Authority and the Legal Basis of the Armed Forces


According to the Constitution of 1886, the president of the Republic of Colombia serves as the commander in chief of the country's armed forces. In addition to this obligation to maintain public order, the president is empowered to provide for the country's external security. The president has the right to declare war, with the consent of the Senate, or, if deemed necessary to repel a foreign invasion, without such consent. The president also has constitutional authority to conclude and ratify peace treaties and is responsible for reporting to Congress on the conclusion of such pacts. Military promotions for general and flag officers as well as military appointments are conferred by the president of the republic, subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

According to Article 121, in case of foreign war or domestic strife, the president, with the approval of the cabinet, is authorized to declare a state of siege in all or part of the republic, thereby placing it under martial law. Article 122 empowers the president, also upon approval of the cabinet, to declare a state of emergency in response to events that pose an imminent threat to the social and economic order.

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Colombia was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Colombia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 154 of 188


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