Colombia's Constitutional Court suspended a deal giving US troops more access to Colombian bases, sending the agreement back to President Juan Manuel Santos to seek congressional approval.
Bogotá and Washington signed a pact last year increasing US access to Colombian military bases from the three services to boost anti-drug and counter-insurgency operations. It has been harshly criticized by neighbours Ecuador and Venezuela.
The Constitutional Court of Colombia ... resolves to refer to the president the supplementary agreement for cooperation and technical assistance in defence and security between the governments of Colombia and the United States, it said.
The court said the deal could not come into force until it had been approved by Congress. It added that it was not ruling on the legality of the agreement and had only analyzed the way the pact was approved.
The government of Santos, who took over the presidency on Aug. 7, has a comfortable majority in the legislature and will likely be able to pass the agreement. The government said it would abide by the court's decision and would study the ruling.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe decided last year not to send the bases deal to Congress for consideration. The accord has been criticized for granting US troops immunity from criminal prosecution in Colombia.
Bogotá and Washington signed the agreement in October giving US troops access to seven bases. Officials say the US military presence will not exceed caps previously set by the US Congress of 800 military personnel and 600 contractors.