Colombia’s prosecution has no evidence that links alleged corruption within the country’s war crimes tribunal to a controversial US extradition request for a FARC leader, according to the country’s Inspector General’s Office.
The Prosecutor General’s Office on Friday announced the arrest of a war crimes tribunal prosecutor, the boss of a notoriously corrupt political party and three other suspects, claiming they accepted bribes to “influence” the investigation of evidence related to a controversial American extradition request for the demobilized guerrilla leader by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).
The Inspector General’s representative at the hearings pointed out that “in all this evidence nothing can be found that allows linking this issue to the case of ‘Jesus Santrich‘,” the FARC leader who is accused of drug trafficking charge by the United States government.
While video recordings clearly showed the suspects received money, the judicial comptroller stressed that the suspects “only once or twice” referred to delaying Santrich’s case, and only after pressure.
The “source” or the undercover agent — because there is no clarity of who is talking — asks insistently if they participated in that and there is no answer, none at all. [Prosecutor Carlos] Bermeo answers with allusions but never says “yes.”
Inspector General representative Henry Bustos
The criticism followed an exceptionally chaotic and incoherent presentation of evidence by the prosecution, which has already been accused of trying “meddling and intimidating” the war crimes tribunal that seeks to provide justice for 8.5 million victims of the country’s armed conflict.
The prosecution was forced to defend itself against media claims that the office could have entrapped the suspects to build a case, a practice that is illegal in Colombia.
The war crimes tribunal due to rule on the extradition request after the American government refused to surrender evidence that would substantiate its drug trafficking claim.
Audio surrendered by the prosecution indicates that the DEA and the Prosecutor General’s Office could have “framed” Santrich as claimed by his defense and the FARC.