|Sumario:||The question addressed in this paper was whether a government, in a regime considered democratic, can legitimately curtail civil rights as a means of protecting public order and the sovereignty of the state. The second part of the question is what should be given priority when there is a tension between fundamental rights and the state’s duty to maintain public order. The case analyzed was the antiterrorism law passed in the Colombian Congress in December 2003.
This law was one of the main strategies developed by Alvaro Uribe’s government on its first presidency period to fight terrorism. The purpose was to create a legal strategy to combat terrorism and to guarantee public order and the sovereignty of the state, which were constantly undermined by illegal armed groups.
This case study reveals a tension between the government’s duty to maintain public order and individual rights – particularly the right to freedom, the right to privacy, and the right to habeas corpus. The tension in the antiterrorism law appears when the government limits first-rank rights as a means to combat acts of terrorism. In a country that faces an internal armed conflict that weakens democracy, the approval of the antiterrorism law gives too much authority to the government and jeopardizes fundamental rights and freedoms. Throughout the paper, the autor try to prove that the constraints on fundamental rights in such a scenario could result in an undermining of the constitutional regime and in the loss of democratic legitimacy.|