Ecuador’s Prosecutor General Washington Pesantez said Wednesday that the 2008 raid on a FARC camp by the Colombian army, on Ecuadorean territory, is a “legal issue” that needs to be handled by the Ecuadorian judicial system, reported Colombian media.
Pesantez called the incident a “legal monstrosity” and stressed that, as the then-commander of the armed forces, presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos was responsible for the violation of territorial laws and should therefore answer to the Ecuadorean jurisdiction.
The investigation and prosecution of the case is “a matter of national dignity, is a legal issue,” said the Prosecutor General.
The Ecuadorean government issued an arrest warrant for Santos for his part in the illegal attack earlier this week. However, the warrant was rejected by Colombia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, who released a declaring saying that Colombia “does not recognize the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Ecuadorean justice to investigate and try former and present Colombian officials.”
Colombia has said that the incident is the State’s responsibility, not a personal one, and Santos is therefore not culpable. Colombia also maintains that Ecuador does not have the jurisdiction to try Santos.
The 2008 bombing of the FARC camp, which led to the death of FARC leader “Raul Reyes,” led Ecuador to sever diplomatic ties with Colombia. Ecuador says the Colombian army undermined it neighbor’s sovereignty by pursuing FARC guerrillas onto Ecuadorean territory.
Comments made by Santos in a presidential debate a few weeks have reignited the flames of the diplomatic furor.
The former defense minister said that he was proud of his role in attack and that he “left open the possibility of a repeat attack.”
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa bit back, warning Colombia against any repeat of the 2008 raid, saying that his country’s military is “prepared” for such an attack and would consider it a “causus belli,” a reason to go to war.