Colombia’s Supreme Judicial Council warns of threats to the country’s judiciary, with three judges assassinated in the last two years, and 600 receiving threats over the last four years, reports Semana.
Judge Diego Fernando Escobar was gunned down Thursday outside his home in Medellin.
“In the last two years have been killed three judges and a court official and an attempt was made against a Cali judge … But the worst for us is that there have been constant threats for the past four years, rising to 600” said Judge Hernando Torres of the Supreme Judicial Council.
President Uribe condemned the assassination and offered a reward of COP100 million for information about those who masterminded the crime.
“This is an wake-up call to the national government to protect the justice system to guarantee the civil liberties of the population,” said Judge Hernando Torres, chairman of the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council.
There had been “threats to their family and property, personal threats, threats to bring processes of various kinds, and threats to resources that they give to illegal groups,” according to Torres.
Among those threatened were judges of the Supreme Court, who have been responsible for uncovering links between politicians and paramilitaries, according to Torres.
The Supreme Court judges have also been the victims of illegal wiretapping by Colombia’s security agency (DAS).
President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Francisco Escobar, said that budget problems made it difficult for judges to protect themselves.
Escobar said that it was the responsibility of the government and national police to ensure the safety of the judges and in turn the effectiveness of the justice system.