The lecture will focus on the Colombia’s Constitutional Court decisions which adopt structural remedies and judicial monitoring of their implementation. The more innovative decisions concern the health system (2008) and internally displaced peasants due to Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict, uprooted mainly by guerrilla and paramilitary groups (2004). The 1991 Colombian Constitution includes a generous bill of rights. The political branches of government have adopted legislation to protect such rights, especially social rights, but the corresponding policies have not been adequately applied. This has prompted constitutional litigation to ask the Constitutional Court to intervene. The lecture will analyze the role of the Constitutional Court in enforcing fundamental rights and promoting social change as well as how the Court has addressed issues pertaining to the democratic legitimacy, judicial competence, and economic impact of its decisions.
Professor Manuel José Cepeda Espinosa is President of the International Association of Constitutional Law and member of the Colombian Commission that negotiated a Transitional Justice Agreement with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in December 2015. He served as a justice on the Constitutional Court of Colombia from 2001–09 and was president of the Court from June 2005 to April 2006. From 1987–90, he served as presidential advisor for legal affairs to Colombian President Virgilio Barco Vargas. From 1990–91, he was advisor to Colombian President César Gaviria Trujillo for the Constituent Assembly of Colombia. From 1993–95, he was Ambassador of Colombia to UNESCO and thereafter to the Helvetic Confederation (1995–96). He served as Dean of the Universidad de los Andes Law School from 1996–2000. The author of several constitutional law books, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Universidad de los Andes in 1986 and received his Master of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1987. In 1993, he received the Order of Boyacá from the President of Colombia.
Presented with the RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.