Colombian judicial authorities sentence no more than 12 of every 100 arrested drug gang suspects. The rest are set free because of a shortage in prosecutors and judges, the country’s defense minister said Tuesday.
“In the case of [the department of] Cordoba, there is only one devoted judge and frankly, he cannot cope,” said minister Rodrigo Rivera, adding that criminals only have to plead “not guilty” to make sure legal terms are not met and the suspects go free without trial.
Rivera added arguments to those of his colleague Interior and Justice Minister German Vargas Lleras, who recently said that emerging criminal groups, or “BACRIMs,” as they are called by the government, are increasing their control over large parts of rural Colombia and within cities and are threatening to influence October’s local elections.
The Santos administration is trying to convince Congress to approve the government’s Citizen Security proposal to combat drug trafficking organizations in Colombia.
The proposal dates from August 2010, but has still not been approved by Congress.