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Colombia: Judicial Police
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Law Enforcement > Penal System


The 1991 constitution, Article 250, stipulates that the Attorney General’s Office must direct and coordinate the activities of all state entities with either permanent or temporary judicial police facilities. In 2004 the Attorney General’s Office, the Directorate of the Judicial Police and Investigation (Dijin) of the National Police, and the DAS had permanent judicial police powers. The principal responsibility of Dijin is to carry out criminal investigations and to assist in the technical preparation of criminal cases. Dijin’s role in the process of discovery is essential to judicial rulings in the new accusatory penal system in Colombia. Although Dijin is organizationally under the National Police and reports to it, the Attorney General’s Office also directs and coordinates the activities of the judicial police with all state agencies. Thus, there may be some overlapping control over Dijin activities by the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office. There are additionally a wide variety of other state organs with some judicial police authority within their organizations, including the Comptroller General’s Office, transit authorities, national and regional directors of the National Jail and Penitentiary Institute (INPEC), the directors of security personnel, mayors, and police inspectors.

The National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences is the primary entity responsible for assisting the Attorney General’s Office in criminal investigations and providing technical and scientific evidence. The DAS, the Technical Investigation Corps, and Dijin all maintain separate forensic laboratories. National and foreign private laboratories, as well as public and private universities, also provide scientific-technical support. The multiplicity of training centers in judicial police functions, which results in a lack of standardization in academic programs, technical training, and procedures, is a problem for all the entities involved. To address this concern, the Uribe administration proposed the establishment of a Central School of Judicial Police in its 2002–6 Development Plan, as well as the strengthening of the Dijin School of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have assisted Dijin in achieving its reform goals. The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) spearheads training and reform initiatives oriented to developing specialized investigative units to improve coordination and cooperation among all entities involved in the investigative process. These ICITAP writs, composed of prosecutors, forensic specialists, paralegals, judicial police, and specialized government personnel, focus on money laundering and asset forfeiture, human rights, and anticorruption. ICITAP also works with the Colombian government in standardizing Dijin training by designing a unified investigative pilot program, from which 51 judicial police graduated in 2003. In 2004 ICITAP helped prepare Dijin for the accusatory trial system with specialized training in crime-scene management. The U.S. Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training also participated in a reform of Colombia’s four forensic laboratories aimed at standardizing forensic protocols and procedures.

Last Updated: January 2010

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

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