Colombia’s Supreme Court has elected lawyer Eduardo Montealegre, an ally of former President Alvaro Uribe, as its new Prosecutor General.
Montealegre, who has been a lawyer for more than 20 years and served on Colombia’s Consitutional Court, was elected with 16 votes Thursday.
He worked with closely with Uribe on a number of issues, notably the call for Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to be brought before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He was also instrumental in convincing congressmen to vote in a referendum deciding whether Uribe should be reelected, after an opposition lawmaker threatened to sue them on the basis that his reelection was unconstitutional.
Montealegre said shortly before his election that if his bid was successful, his focus would be human rights. The first initiative he would present to congress would be a law extending human rights protections.
“I believe one of the greatest failings of the Colombian penal code is that it does not incorporate the advances of modern international rights law,” he told the Supreme Court.
He also wants to change the notion of criminal responsibility to hold groups accountable for their members’ actions. “We must pass the model of double accusation, in whcih crimes are attributed not just to their perpetrator but also to the group to which [the perpetrator] belongs,” he said, adding that he also wanted to strengthen the instruments used to fight organized crime and corruption.