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Former building of the Central American Court of Justice, known as “Casa Amarilla”

Abolition of the Army in Costa Rica

Registration year: 2017
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The National Archive of Costa Rica nominates two documents under its custody, on the abolition of the army in Costa Rica; it is an example to the world that it is possible to live in an unarmed democracy. This was a decision of the provisional Government board, immediately after an armed conflict, which is even more worthy and it has allowed Costa Rica to become an example at world level, of a pacifist and civilian nation, resolving conflicts and external threats by means of instruments provided by International Law.

Since 1949, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to abolish the army. The decision gave institutional strength to the regime of civility of Costa Rica’s political life. At the international level, the abolition of the army marked a new experience for diplomacy, giving pacifist will and credibility before the world, and showing it is possible for a country to live without an army, without armed forces, and investing these resources in greater and better social development. It proves that a State can be voluntarily disarmed, achieving a better distribution of richness, prioritizing development of social aspects such as health and education as not investing in weapons, contributing to a population with more rights, more stable and developed.

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Abolition of the Army in Costa Rica


In 11 October 1949, Costa Rica abolished the army by decision of the Founding Board of the Second Republic through a decree 249. The Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica of 1949 is a 75 pages document, which is part of the Second Republic Founding Board’s documentary collection. Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica comprises 137 articles in total. In its article 12, it is established that “The Army as permanent institution is outlawed.

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