Colombia’s opposition accuses Duque of undermining rule of law

Colombia’s former chief prosecutor did not resign over a war crimes tribunal ruling to block the extradition of a FARC leader, but in order to prevent embarrassment over the Odebrecht bribery scandal, the country’s opposition said on Wednesday.

The opposition fiercely rebuked the address of President Ivan Duque, who told the Colombian people last week that former Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez‘ decision to resign “strengthened the rule of law in Colombia.”

Devastated Duque vows to respect court order to release FARC leader

“A claim like that, coming from the mouth of the president, is an affront to the truth. Promoting impunity only generates corruption and does not strengthen the rule of law,” said opposition leader Gustavo Petro on behalf of all opposition parties.

Martinez said he resigned in protest of the ruling of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which did not just reject the extradition request of FARC leader known as “Jesus Santrich,” but also called for an investigatation into possible misconduct by Martinez, the prosecution, and the United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency.

The former chief prosecutor’s resignation effectively prevented a Supreme Court hearing which was considering whether to remove all Odebrecht investigations from the jurisdiction of the prosecution over Martinez’ conflict of interest in the corruption that has affected multiple countries in Latin America and Africa.

The former chief prosecutor was the judicial advisor of one of the corporations that took part in the bribery of government officials.

The former prosecutor tried to cover up the criminal investigations against his former and powerful clients for whom he was a lawyer. That cover-up attitude, as investigated and denounced by Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo, is one of the most worst acts of corruption in Colombia’s recent history.

Statement by Colombia’s opposition parties

Using the opposition’s recently-obtained right to address the nation every time the president does, Petro went further and pointed out that the Oberecht’s bribes ended up in the covers of the ruling parties and “have supported the last four administrations.”

They bribed the entire Transport branch of the Uribe government and the Finance and Planning branch of the Santos government; they bribed all the presidential campaigns of the Uribe campaigns in the last nine years.

Colombia’s opposition parties

Duque’s “support for acts of corruption” and his alleged consideration to overrule the court ruling using an emergency decree is what is threatening the rule of law, said Petro.

The opposition reiterated the opposition’s support for the JEP and claimed that Duque’s attempts to limit its powers are out of fear that the transitional justice system will uncover crimes committed by the country’s private sector and ruling class that backed Duque’s election last year.

The truth that would accuse powerful businessmen and political leaders for having financed or helped the genocide unleashed in Colombia, the barbarism that is considered a crime against humanity.

Colombia’s opposition parties

The opposition called on the President to “reconcile and to fight for peace, not to sabotage the decision of the judges or try to do away with a constitutional Colombian institution like the Special Jurisdiction for Peace,” Petro said.

“All attempts to extend the war will lead to nothing but more barbarism. Put yourself on the side of peace, President Duque. We, those who struggle for peace, will support you taking this step,” he continued.

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