Columbia is a constitutional republic located in northwest South America and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela. A "middle" power considered having the 3rd biggest economy among other South American countries; Columbia's government is guided by a constitution amended in 1991 and operates according to principles of "separation of powers".
The head of government and state is the president of Columbia, who is supported by the Council of Ministers and the Vice President. Similar to the structure of the U.S. government, Columbia has a bicameral Congress, Senate and Chamber of Representatives. The Supreme Court of Columbia rules over the judicial branch and consists of 23 judges presiding over the Civil, Labor and Penal chambers. Established in 2005, a civil system of legal procedures has been applied by upholding adversarial (jury or judge) procedures in all courts.
Columbia's Legal System
Working under an amended Penal Code from 1938 originally incorporating Spanish law principles, Columbia’s legal system has a striking resemblance to U.S. and Western laws that define crimes as misdemeanors or felonies. However, Columbia's maximum prison sentence is 24 years (similar to Scandinavian laws) regardless of the crime. The death penalty in Columbia was abolished over 100 years ago.
Divided into several judicial districts containing superior courts that are presided over by at least three judges, Columbia's municipalities are supervised by specialized, juvenile and circuit courts that use "Public Ministry" lawyers to represent individuals in court proceedings.