Country

Colombia

Colombia

Name of law : Law 57 of 1985 - as amended by Law 1712 of 2014 and Law 1437 of 2011
First adopted : 1985

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 6
Scope 30 29
Requesting procedures 30 16
Exceptions 30 23
Appeals 30 15
Sanctions 8 4
Promotional measures 16 9
TOTAL 150 102

Introduction:
One interesting aspect of this law is the degree to which its protections were shaped by Constitutional Court jurisprudence. If based purely on Colombia's Law 57, the score would be about 40 points lower. But when the Court's decisions and interpretation are factored in, the law rises considerably. This corresponds with Colombia's score on Appeals, which is surprisingly high considering that it lacks a specialised independent appeals body. Most countries that direct access refusals to their judiciary only score between 6-8 points on this section, whereas Colombia's robust judicial mechanism for appeal pushed the score up to 14, outperforming some of the countries that have specialised appeal bodies. The fact that this relatively high appeals score corresponds to a country where the judiciary has played a strong role in implementation speaks well of the methodology's accuracy as a measuring tool. Major problems with Colombia's legal framework include its limited scope (the law does not apply to the legislature and judiciary), the fact that the law allows other legislation to classify information, and the lack of a public interest override for exceptions to access.
Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

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Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES ARTICLE 20. Every individual is guaranteed the freedom to express and diffuse his/her thoughts and opinions, to transmit and receive information that is true and impartial, and to establish mass comm unications media. ARTICLE 74. Every person has a right to access to public documents except in cases established by law. LAW 57. ARTICLE 12. oda persona tiene derecho a consultar los documentos que reposen en las oficinas públicas y a que se le expida copia de los mismos, siempre que dichos documentos no tengan carácter reservado conforme a la Constitución o la ley, o no hagan relación a la defensa o seguridad nacional. Note - all translations are unofficial.
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Article 2 °. Principle of maximum publicity for universal holder. Any information in the possession, custody or under control of a regulated person is public and can not be reserved or limited except by constitutional or statutory provision, in accordance with this Act. Article 3. Other principles of transparency and access to public information. In the interpretation of the right of access to information shall adopt a standard of reasonableness and proportionality, as well as apply the following principles: Art. 2 and 3 of Law 1712 include the principles of maximum publicity and of transparency.
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 YES See for example: Decision T-705 of 2007 by the Constitutional Court.




Scope

Indicator

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MAX score
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Article

Comments
4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Article 4. Concept of law. In exercise of the fundamental right of access to information, a person can learn about the existence and access to public information in the possession or control of entities. Access to information may be restricted only in exceptional cases. Exceptions will be limited and proportional, you must be prescribed by law or the Constitution and be consistent with the principles of a democratic society. The right of access to information generated by the corresponding obligation to proactively disseminate public information and respond in good faith, properly, accurate, timely and affordable access to applications, which in turn entails the obligation to produce or capture public information. To meet the above entities shall implement procedures to ensure archival availability at time of authentic electronic documents. Paragraph. When the user finds that the application of information threatens their safety or that of your family, you may apply to the Public Ministry's special application process, including identification reserved. Art. 4 of Law 1712 defines the right to access as a fundamental righta that can be exercised by all persons, which includes non-adults and foreigners
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES 6(a) Information. It refers to an organized set of data contained in any document that obligated parties generate, obtain, acquire, transform or control; Art. 6 of the 1712 Law defines information as an organized group of data contained in any document generated, obtained, acquired, transformed or controlled by any of the duty-bearers of the law. This same article defines public information as all information that a duty-bearer generates, obtains, acquires or controls, acting as such.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES 6(a) Information. It refers to an organized set of data contained in any document that obligated parties generate, obtain, acquire, transform or control;
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Article 5 °. Scope. The provisions of this law the following persons shall be applicable as obligated parties: a) A public entity, including to members of all branches of government, at all levels of the state structure, central or decentralized for services or territorial, national, departmental, municipal and county orders; b) agencies, and independent or autonomous state entities and control; c) Natural and legal persons, public or private, to provide public service, providing public services for information directly related to the provision of public services; d) Any natural person, legal entity or reliance person holding public authority or public function, for information directly related to the performance of their duties; e) The political parties or movements and significant groups of citizens; f) Entities that administer quasi-Government agencies, funds or resources of nature or public origin. Natural or legal persons receiving or intermediating funds or territorial and national public benefits and do not meet any other requirements to be considered obligated only must comply with this Act in respect of that information produced in connection with public funds received or as intermediaries.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 5 °. Scope. The provisions of this law the following persons shall be applicable as obligated parties: a) A public entity, including to members of all branches of government, at all levels of the state structure, central or decentralized for services or territorial, national, departmental, municipal and county orders;
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES Article 5 °. Scope. The provisions of this law the following persons shall be applicable as obligated parties: a) A public entity, including to members of all branches of government, at all levels of the state structure, central or decentralized for services or territorial, national, departmental, municipal and county orders; b) agencies, and independent or autonomous state entities and control; c) Natural and legal persons, public or private, to provide public service, providing public services for information directly related to the provision of public services; d) Any natural person, legal entity or reliance person holding public authority or public function, for information directly related to the performance of their duties; e) The political parties or movements and significant groups of citizens; f) Entities that administer quasi-Government agencies, funds or resources of nature or public origin. Natural or legal persons receiving or intermediating funds or territorial and national public benefits and do not meet any other requirements to be considered obligated only must comply with this Act in respect of that information produced in connection with public funds received or as intermediaries.
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 Partially SOEs are not listed within the law, but have been included within the ambit of the RTI law by the constitutional court, with an exception for their commercial and industrial activities. Because this should be protected through a specific exception however, rather than a broad exclusion, they lose a point.
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES Article 5 °. Scope. The provisions of this law the following persons shall be applicable as obligated parties: ... b) agencies, and independent or autonomous state entities and control; See Art 5b which includes as duty-bearers all state independent and autonomous organs and organisms, including the control organs
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES Article 5 °. Scope. The provisions of this law the following persons shall be applicable as obligated parties: ... c) Natural and legal persons, public or private, to provide public service, providing public services for information directly related to the provision of public services; d) Any natural person, legal entity or reliance person holding public authority or public function, for information directly related to the performance of their duties; ... Natural or legal persons receiving or intermediating funds or territorial and national public benefits and do not meet any other requirements to be considered obligated only must comply with this Act in respect of that information produced in connection with public funds received or as intermediaries.

Requesting Procedures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

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Article

Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 Partially Law 1712 Art. 25: Solicitud Access to Public Information. It is one that, in oral or written form, including electronically, you can make any person to access public information. Paragraph. In no case may be rejected the petition on the grounds of inadequate or incomplete foundation. ... Law 1437 ARTICLE 16 . CONTENTS OF REQUESTS All requests shall contain, at least: The designation of the authority that goes. The full names of the applicant and his representative agent, if any, indicating their identity and the address where you receive mail. The petitioner may add the fax number or email address. If the petitioner is a private person required to be registered in the commercial register, you will be required to indicate your email address. The object of the request. The grounds on which bases its request. The relationship of the requirements of the law and the documents to be submitted to begin the process. The signature of the petitioner as the case may be. PARAGRAPH. Authority has an obligation to fully consider the request, and in any case deemed incomplete for lack of requirements or documents that are not within the existing legal framework and which are not necessary to resolve it. According to article 25 par of Law 1712/14, no request can be rejected on grounds of inadequate or incomplete foundings but simultaneously article 16 of Law 1437, 2011 requires motivation as a condition for the request.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 Partially Law 1437 ARTICLE 16 . CONTENTS OF REQUESTS All requests shall contain, at least: The designation of the authority that goes. The full names of the applicant and his representative agent, if any, indicating their identity and the address where you receive mail. The petitioner may add the fax number or email address. If the petitioner is a private person required to be registered in the commercial register, you will be required to indicate your email address. The object of the request. The grounds on which bases its request. The relationship of the requirements of the law and the documents to be submitted to begin the process. The signature of the petitioner as the case may be. PARAGRAPH. Authority has an obligation to fully consider the request, and in any case deemed incomplete for lack of requirements or documents that are not within the existing legal framework and which are not necessary to resolve it. There is no specific condition of identification of requester as per Law 1712/14 but simultaneously article 16 of Law 1437 requires full identification of petitioner, as well as a statement about the relationship of the request to the law.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 Partially Law 1437 ARTICLE 16 . CONTENTS OF REQUESTS All requests shall contain, at least: The designation of the authority that goes. The full names of the applicant and his representative agent, if any, indicating their identity and the address where you receive mail. The petitioner may add the fax number or email address. If the petitioner is a private person required to be registered in the commercial register, you will be required to indicate your email address. The object of the request. The grounds on which bases its request. The relationship of the requirements of the law and the documents to be submitted to begin the process. The signature of the petitioner as the case may be. PARAGRAPH. Authority has an obligation to fully consider the request, and in any case deemed incomplete for lack of requirements or documents that are not within the existing legal framework and which are not necessary to resolve it. According to the law, they can just show up in the public institutions and request to consult or copy any document orally or in written, but law 1437 requires users to state that the request is made under the RTI law. The conflict costs a point.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Article 7: Information .Disponibilidad. Under this policy, and shall be available to the public the information referred to in this law, through physical, local or remote electronic media. The obligors shall make available to interested persons such information on the Web, so that they can get the information, directly or through printouts. In addition, they must provide support to users who require it and provide all kinds of assistance in the procedures and services rendered. Paragraph. Television broadcasting internet in any case is allowed when content is public information state agencies or news about it. Article 7 of law 1712 of 2014 requires officials to provide "all kinds of assistance" as needed. According to our reviewer, this should be interpreted systematically to apply to the law as a whole as a result of Art 3.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES Section 8. Differential accessibility criteria. In order to facilitate the specific populations to access information that particularly affected, the obligated, at the request of the authorities of the communities, disseminated public information in various languages ​​and languages ​​and alternative formats understandable developed for these groups. Access to such information shall be secured to the various ethnic and cultural groups in the country and especially the media will be adapted to provide access to people who are suffering from disabilities. Article 8 of law 1712 of 2014 includes differential criteria to access information for disabled population as well as for ethnic and cultural groups. According to our reviewer, this should be interpreted systematically to apply to the law as a whole as a result of Art 3.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 YES This is done immediately in accordance with Law 1712 of 2014 and Law 1437 of 2011.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Obligation to transfer request to proper institution can be found in the colombian Administrative Code (Decre 01 of 1984).See for example Decision 917 of 2005. Constitutional Court.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 NO Not mentioned.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 NO No - speed (celeridad) is included within the statement of principles, but that doesn't quite cut it here.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES 14. Requests for documents should be resolved within ten (10) days of receipt. If you have not responded to the petitioner in that period, shall be deemed, for all legal purposes, the relevant application has been accepted and, therefore, the administration can no longer deny the delivery of these documents to the petitioner, as a result copies will be delivered within three (3) days. Article 14 of Law 1437 of 2011 - Timeline of 10 days (days - not stated as working days).
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 NO Extensions are allowed, as per Law 1437 of 2011 article 17 but the rules surrounding them are fuzzy.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Art. 3 Principle of gratuitousness. According to this principle access to public information is free and no additional values ​​may charge the cost of reproduction of information. According to the gratuity principle the only cost that can be charged is the cost of reproduction of information.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially Art. 26: The response to the request should be free or subject to a cost that does not exceed the value of the reproduction and delivery of the same to the applicant. It is preferable, where possible, according to the passive and active subjects, the response electronically, with the consent of the applicant. Art 17 - fees are set locally, but cannot exceed cost of reproduction.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 Partially It is a statutory law which means it is higher in hierarchy than an ordinary law but intelligence law on state secrets is also a statutory law - and there is no statement included which allows the law to trump conflicting provisions.
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially Article 19 Information exempted by damage to the public interest. Is any public confidential information to which access may be refused or denied reasoned and in writing in the following circumstances, provided that such access person was expressly prohibited by statute or Constitution: a) The defense and national security; b) The public safety; c) international relations; d) The prevention, investigation and prosecution of offenses and disciplinary offenses, while not becoming effective security measure or statement of objections is made, as appropriate; e) The due process and equality of parties in court proceedings; f) The effective administration of justice; g) The rights of children and adolescents; h) The macroeconomic and financial stability; i) Public health. Paragraph. Documents containing opinions or viewpoints that are part of the deliberative process of public servants are also exempt. 19(g) - the rights of children and adolescents - is not recognised, and it too broad to be legitimate.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 YES Article 28 Burden of proof. It is for the obligor to provide reasons and evidence in support of and evidencing that the requested information must remain proprietary or confidential. In particular, the obligated party must show that the information must relate to a legitimate objective established legal or constitutional. In addition, you must determine whether it is an exception contained in Articles 19 and 20 of this Act and the disclosure of this information would cause harm, and likely exceeding the specific public interest represents access to information. There is a harm test in article 28 of Law 1712 (burden of the proof) as well as in relevant jurisprudence, that applies to all the exceptions
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES There is a mandatory public interest override in article 28 of Law 1712. Article 21 of Law 1712 also states a hard override for human rights violations and grave crimes against humanity
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 YES Article 22 Temporary exceptions. The reservation of the information covered by Article 19 shall not extend for a period longer than fifteen (15) years. 15 years - according to Article 22 of Law 1712 and as soon as exceptions cease to apply according to Constitutional Court´s ruling of constitutionality of Law 1712.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO No such procedures.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES This is found in the jurisprudence on the subject.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 Partially Article 18: Information rights excepted by damage to natural or legal persons. Is any public classified information to which access may be refused or denied reasoned and in writing, provided that access would cause damage to the following rights. Law 1712 has a requirement to notify the requester in writing that the law would case harm to the exceptions, implying a need for specificity.


Appeals

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Comments
36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 Partially Article 27 Resources of the applicant. When the response to the request for information backup invoke national security and defense or international relations, the applicant may appeal to the administrative appeal, which must be filed in writing and supporting diligence in reporting, or within three (3 ) days following it. Denied this resource correspond to administrative courts with jurisdiction in the place where the documents are, whether it is national, departmental and the Capital District of Bogotá authorities or the ALJ if it comes from district and municipal authorities to decide in one instance or if he refuses the request is accepted, in whole or in part. For this, the official concerned shall send the relevant documentation to the court or administrative judge in a period not exceeding three (3) days. If the officer fails to do so the applicant may send the respective directly. The administrative judge will decide within ten (10) days. This term will be discontinued in the following cases: 1 When the court or administrative judge requests a copy or photocopy of the disclosure documents to decide, or any other information required, and to date in which officially received. 2 When the authority requests, to the section of the State Council that the regulation provides, assuming knowledge of the matter in view of its legal significance or purpose of unifying about it. If after five (5) days silent section, or choose not avocar knowledge continue acting before the respective court or administrative tribunal. Paragraph. Be from the tutela for cases not covered in this article, once the internal appeal of the Administrative Code exhausted. Article 27 of Law 1712 allows for a limited internal appeal if the exception falls under national security/defence or international relations.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 Partially Article 23 Functions of the Public Ministry. The Public Ministry will be responsible for ensuring proper compliance with obligations under this Act. For this purpose, the Attorney General's Office no later than six months to establish a methodology that and perform the following functions and powers: a) To develop preventive actions for the enforcement of this law; b) Prepare reports on compliance with the guardianship decisions on access to information; c) Publish guardianship decisions and regulations on access to public information; d) To promote the knowledge and application of this law and its provisions among obligors and understanding among the public, taking into account accessibility criteria for differential, on matters within its jurisdiction through the publication and dissemination of guidance on the right of access to information; e) Apply the disciplinary sanctions that the present law guarantees; f) Decide disciplinary, where preferred exercise power, misdemeanors or misconduct arising from the right of access to information; g) Promoting transparency in the public service, access and disclosure of information from state agencies, by any means of publication; h) Require the regulated entities to adjust their procedures and citizen services system to such legislation; i) Make, directly or through third parties, training public officials on transparency and access to information; j) Perform statistics and reports on transparency and access to information of the organs of state administration and enforcement of this Act; k) Deliver duly responses to requests with application ID reserved for the paragraph of Article 4 of this Law refers; l) Implement and manage information systems in the performance of their duties for which he set forth the terms and criteria of reporting by public entities as necessary. Entities of Public Prosecutions will have a designated office shall have the means necessary to carry out the above functions and powers. Public Ministry can be informed of absence to comply with the law and they can monitor and impose sanctions (article 23 Law 1712 and general functions of Public Ministry). Note that this is a "threshold" question for indicators 38-43. The fact that the Public Ministry does not function as an appeals body precludes Colombia from getting points on these indicators.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 NO The head of the Public Ministry is chosen by the Senate from a list of names offered by Supreme Court, Conseil d´Etat and the Presidente. There is security of tenure because he has to be removed from office by a Court - but the Public Ministry's inability to hear appeals makes Colombia ineligible for points here.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 NO Yes - according to our expert - but the Public Ministry's inability to hear appeals makes Colombia ineligible for points here.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 NO Not mentioned.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 NO Yes - according to our expert - but the Public Ministry's inability to hear appeals makes Colombia ineligible for points here.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 NO Yes - according to our expert - but the Public Ministry's inability to hear appeals makes Colombia ineligible for points here.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 NO No appeals to the Public Ministry.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article 27 Resources of the applicant. When the response to the request for information backup invoke national security and defense or international relations, the applicant may appeal to the administrative appeal, which must be filed in writing and supporting diligence in reporting, or within three (3 ) days following it. Denied this resource correspond to administrative courts with jurisdiction in the place where the documents are, whether it is national, departmental and the Capital District of Bogotá authorities or the ALJ if it comes from district and municipal authorities to decide in one instance or if he refuses the request is accepted, in whole or in part. Article 27 of Law 1712.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES Yes - according to our expert reviewer.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES Article 27 Resources of the applicant. When the response to the request for information backup invoke national security and defense or international relations, the applicant may appeal to the administrative appeal, which must be filed in writing and supporting diligence in reporting, or within three (3 ) days following it. Denied this resource correspond to administrative courts with jurisdiction in the place where the documents are, whether it is national, departmental and the Capital District of Bogotá authorities or the ALJ if it comes from district and municipal authorities to decide in one instance or if he refuses the request is accepted, in whole or in part. ... Law 1437 Art. 23: RIGHT TO PETITION AUTHORITIES. SPECIAL RULES. . ARTICLE 24 NOTICES AND DOCUMENTS RESERVED. Only shall be confidential information and documents expressly reserve under the Constitution or the law, and in particular: Protected by commercial or industrial secret. Those related to national defense or security. The covered by professional secrecy. Those involving privacy rights and privacy of individuals included in the resumes, work history and pension records and other personal records held by the archives of public or private institutions, as well as the history, unless they are requested by the parties themselves or by their agents with express authority to access that information. The conditions relating to the financial operations of public credit and cash to carry the Nation, as well as technical studies of valuation of assets of the nation. These documents and information are subject to reserve for a period of six (6) months from the completion of the respective operation. Requestors can challenge administrative silence, excessive fees and breaches of timelines through the Tutela for the protection of their fundamental right of petition (article 23 of law 1437) in connection with other fundamental rights and the right of access to information but only when the exceptions invoked are not national security/defense or international relations. If the exceptions are one of the two latter, there must be appeal with an administrative tribunal in the form of a special recourse called recurso d "insistencia" (article 27 of Law 1712)
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES RIGHT TO PETITION AUTHORITIES. SPECIAL RULES. . ARTICLE 24 NOTICES AND DOCUMENTS RESERVED. Only shall be confidential information and documents expressly reserve under the Constitution or the law, and in particular: Protected by commercial or industrial secret. Those related to national defense or security. The covered by professional secrecy. Those involving privacy rights and privacy of individuals included in the resumes, work history and pension records and other personal records held by the archives of public or private institutions, as well as the history, unless they are requested by the parties themselves or by their agents with express authority to access that information. The conditions relating to the financial operations of public credit and cash to carry the Nation, as well as technical studies of valuation of assets of the nation. These documents and information are subject to reserve for a period of six (6) months from the completion of the respective operation. Yes. As can be seen in article 21 the Administrative Tribunal has 10 days to decide. The Tutela is also decided within 10 days.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES Article 28 Burden of proof. It is for the obligor to provide reasons and evidence in support of and evidencing that the requested information must remain proprietary or confidential. In particular, the obligated party must show that the information must relate to a legitimate objective established legal or constitutional. In addition, you must determine whether it is an exception contained in Articles 19 and 20 of this Act and the disclosure of this information would cause harm, and likely exceeding the specific public interest represents access to information.
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 Partially The tutela judge has this power but the Administrative Tribunal does not have this power.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES Article 29 Criminal Responsibility. Any act of concealment, destruction or deliberate alteration or partial public information once it has been subject to a request for information shall be punished in accordance with Article 292 of the Penal Code.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES Yes - through the Public Ministry.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 NO The original draft of Law 1712 of 2014 provided for exemption of criminal, disiplinary and civil liability if there was good faith but this provision was ruled unconstitutional.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 NO Not mentioned.


Promotional measures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Under the Constitution of Colombia, it is the Procuraduria (protection) and the Defensoria (awareness raising and reporting) who have functions to promote and protect fundamental rights, including the right of access to information. See articles 278 and 282 of the Constitution and article 23 of Law 1712 of 2014
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 23 Functions of the Public Ministry. The Public Ministry will be responsible for ensuring proper compliance with obligations under this Act. For this purpose, the Attorney General's Office no later than six months to establish a methodology that and perform the following functions and powers: a) To develop preventive actions for the enforcement of this law; b) Prepare reports on compliance with the guardianship decisions on access to information; c) Publish guardianship decisions and regulations on access to public information; d) To promote the knowledge and application of this law and its provisions among obligors and understanding among the public, taking into account accessibility criteria for differential, on matters within its jurisdiction through the publication and dissemination of guidance on the right of access to information; e) Apply the disciplinary sanctions that the present law guarantees; f) Decide disciplinary, where preferred exercise power, misdemeanors or misconduct arising from the right of access to information; g) Promoting transparency in the public service, access and disclosure of information from state agencies, by any means of publication; h) Require the regulated entities to adjust their procedures and citizen services system to such legislation; i) Make, directly or through third parties, training public officials on transparency and access to information; j) Perform statistics and reports on transparency and access to information of the organs of state administration and enforcement of this Act; k) Deliver duly responses to requests with application ID reserved for the paragraph of Article 4 of this Law refers; l) Implement and manage information systems in the performance of their duties for which he set forth the terms and criteria of reporting by public entities as necessary. Entities of Public Prosecutions will have a designated office shall have the means necessary to carry out the above functions and powers. ... Article 31 Formal Education. The Ministry of Education, with the support of civil society, should be promoted in the area related to the study of the Constitution, civics and promoting democratic practices mandatory for private and public educational institutions, in accordance with Article 41 of the Constitution about the right of access to information, its principles and basic rules are included. Yes. Under the constitutional functions of the Defensoria (Ombdsman's Office) and in accordance with article 23 of Law 1712 of 2014, the whole Public Ministry must give advise conduct training. Also, article 31 states that the Education Ministry must promote the inclusion of the study of the right to access information in all private and public schools that must study the political constitution and article 31 states that the public policy of access to information is in the responsibility of 5 different public entities.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Yes. See Law 594 of 2000. Archives
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES See Article 26 of Law 594 of 2000 pertaining to archives and title II of Law 1712 0f 2014.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially Article 30 Training. The Public Ministry, with the support of civil society interested in participating must attend the obligors and citizens in training with differential approach for the implementation of this law. Article 30 of Law 1712 of 2014. However, this is only for the Public Ministry.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO No mentioned
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO No mentioned