Uruguay's congress has rescinded a 72-year-old law that allowed disputes to be settled by a duel.

The law was passed to regulate the practice after two-time president Jorge Batlle y Ordonez shot and killed El Dia newspaper publisher Washington Beltran in 1920.Duels - with pistols or sabers - were infrequent, but tended to involve prominent individuals.

Julio Sanguinetti, president from 1985-89, fought in one, as did Jorge Batlle, a senator, a descendant of Batlle y Ordonez and a candidate for president in 1989.

In 1990, police inspector Saul Claveria challenged La Republica newspaper publisher Federico Fasano to a duel over an article that linked Claveria to smuggling.

Claveria eventually withdrew his challenge, saying Fasano was not a worthy opponent.

The lower house approved rescinding the law earlier and the Senate followed suit on Wednesday. It now goes to President Luis Lacalle for signing.