Annulment Decree Seeks to Ratify Oscar Arias Law That Allowed Military Weapons

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    San Jose [TCRN] – In 2008, then Costa Rica President Oscar Arias signed a decree allowing the police to use military weapons where considered relevant even in case of demonstrations by citizens. This despite the fact that the legislation only allows the use of such weapons by the security forces in case of national emergency or internal unrest.

    The decree was annulled by the Administrative Court in 2011, but the Attorney General’s Office appealed the ruling, because it was felt that there was no standing to file the application.
    In response, the plaintiffs Flora Fernandez, Oscar Aguilar Paez Bulgarelli and Augustine, among others, represented by attorney Luis Roberto Zamora, appealed to the First Chamber.
    The Dispute Tribunal and declared to nullify the Executive Order, which amended the Regulation to the Law on Firearms and Explosives.

    The First Chamber, for its part reported last week that the law prohibited the use of forces high-powered weapons in public security work.

    The court added that the decree is challenged as because use of such weapons in any daily activity of the Costa Rica police. In the opinion of the Court it violates the law, because it endangers the public.

    The limitation does not apply for special police groups, police or those groups established to combat organized crime.

    The Board also urges the Executive to conform to the Act within one month, with all the circumstances reasonably required for the use of high-powered weapons that the law prohibits.
    This last point was questioned by Zamora, as he felt that the First Chamber has no jurisdiction to order the executive to issue decrees pertaining to use of military weapons, because the legislation to ban these instruments is governed by law.

    The lawyer quoted in the demand never asked who made the deadline by which the Government will regulate the use of military weapons.

    Zamora explained that the actions filed doesn’t seek to leave the state unprotected by security forces, but instead he urged the authorities to seek a better preparation of the national security forces.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN
    San Jose Costa Rica

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