Uribe revives idea to submit rule of law in Colombia to ‘rule of opinion’

Democratic Center leader and former President Alvaro Uribe. (Image: Pulzo)

Colombia’s far-right former President Alvaro Uribe doesn’t just want to do away with the country’s war crimes tribunal, he said he wants to abolish the rule of law and reduce congress too.

In an interview with W Radio, Uribe said Friday that he supported an initiative by far-right political activist and conspiracy theorist Herbin Hoyos that seeks to “abolish the [Special Jurisdiction for Peace] JEP” and “revoke” the country’s high courts.


“Uribistas” seek referendum to “abolish” Colombia’s war crimes tribunal and “revoke high courts”


But Uribe went even further and revived his idea of abolishing the rule of law and replacing this with a “rule of opinion” that would allow a referendum to overrule court rulings or even the constitution.

The former president has been clashing with the country’s judicial system for more than a decade, mainly because of his convicted family members and allies’ ties to paramilitary death squads.

The Supreme Court is currently investigating Uribe himself for allegedly trying to tamper witnesses who have testified the former president formed a death squad when he was governor in the 1990s.

The law says that a nation must have bodies of control. Today, even dictatorships comply with that. So I believe that what most characterizes a rule of law is the broad participation of public opinion. Now, there is a very heated atmosphere of opinion. The damage that has been done to me is enormous and to many citizens who disagree with the decisions of the courts. This social fact cannot be ignored.

Alvaro Uribe

As if doing away with the rule of law wasn’t enough, Uribe said he also wanted to reform Congress and, instead of having a Senate and a House of Representatives, reduce the legislative branch of power to just one chamber.

Politicians and liberal opinion leaders repudiated Uribe’s ideas.

The vice-president of the Senate, Angelica Lozano (Green Alliance), called Uribe’s proposals “monstrous.” The opposition politician claimed that “on top of destroying the peace process, he wants to destroy the very state.”

“Am I the only one who is afraid they will do away with the rule of law in Colombia with the only purpose to guarantee the impunity of the ex-president?” columnist Yohir Akerman rhetorically asked on Twitter.


Why Colombia’s former president is accused of forming bloodthirsty death squads


President Ivan Duque, Uribe’s protege, did not respond to Uribe’s drastic proposals to reform Colombia’s democracy. The president and his political patron have been unable to push through much of their political agenda because they lack a majority in Congress and have frequently been overruled by the court.

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