Inspector General will not discuss Colombia political rights with international court

Colombia’s Inspector General has announced that he will not be attending a meeting with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) to discuss the highly polemical issue of Colombian citizens’ political rights on March 24.

The IACHR called the upcoming audience with the Colombian government following growing pressure on the international body, which has become enmeshed in Bogota Mayor’s dismissal case since last December.

The IG Alejandro Ordoñez will not, however, be the one representing the control institution he himself is in charge of, local media reported on Monday.

PROFILE: Alejandro Ordoñez

“The Inspector General’s Office will most definitely be present, but another representative will be going,” Ordoñez said.

Mayor Gustavo Petro was sacked by Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez and banned from office for 15 years in a decision that caused outrage throughout Colombia, sparking a series of legal battles that have so far proven ineffective for Petro.

The most used recourse by pro-Petro citizens has been denouncing the move as being a violation of people’s fundamental political right to elect and be elected.

Petro himself appealed to the IACHR following the decision in December, calling for precautionary measures to freeze the dismissal process in defense of his human rights.

MORE: Petro vs. Colombia — can international bodies save Bogota’s mayor?

The commission has since heard his plea, it would seem, as the March 24 meeting will seek to discuss political rights in Colombia.

Ordoñez has already publicly declared that any decision by an international court of justice will not waiver his decision to proceed with Petro’s dismissal.

MORE: Tensions between Colombia’s chief prosecutor and inspector general continue

This then raises the question as to whether Ordoñez has legitimate reasons to not attend, or whether he is choosing to avoid facing the music of international law.

It is likely that the bodies involved will deliberate over the problematic clash between the country’s constitution – which gives the IG the legal authority to dismiss and penalize public officials – and the American Convention on Human Rights, signed by Colombia, and which does not allow the dismissal of a democratically elected official without due trial.

“It is the government’s presence that is being requested, I believe that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is managing the different bodies who will have to give their corresponding statements,” Ordoñez said.


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