Colombian Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras spoke out against a legislative initiative that would grant all members of Congress immunity from prosecution and a right to appeal, Caracol Radio reported Thursday.
The promise of congressional immunity “lends itself to ambiguity,” Vargas Lleras said.
Senate President Juan Manuel Corzo submitted the legislation in draft form Wednesday. If passed, lawmakers “will not be charged, prosecuted, detained, or deprived of liberty without prior authorization of their respective house.”
Because of the large number of former members of Congress under investigation for corruption or ties to paramilitary groups, the initiative has drawn strong opposition.
The interior minister warned that judicial reform will be tied to the current prosecution of members of Congress.
The congressional initiative, Vargas Lleras said, “is something quite different form what is contained in the government project.”
The Colombian government instead proposes the implementation of two separate hearings for members of Congress, one administered by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the other by the Supreme Court of Bogota. The trial would take place before the Criminal Chamber of the Colombian Supreme Court.