Colombia’s State Council upheld a Supreme Court decision to shield all criminal investigations against former President Alvaro Uribe from a controversial magistrate.
The magistrate, former Army Major Cristina Lombana, was taken off the cases in May after press revealed she had failed to tell the court she used to work with Uribe’s defense attorney.
Opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda additionally filed a motion to recuse Lombana because she was Uribe’s subordinate when the far-right politician was president between 2002 and 2010.
Lombana appealed the decision, claiming that “the Special Pre-Trial Chamber questions my impartiality, independence, good judgment, commitment to justice, decorum, ethics, rigor and honesty. In short, it questions my credibility.”
The State Council dismissed the magistrate’s arguments, confirming that the Supreme Court decision there were “reasonable doubt about the lack of impartiality.”
It is reasonable that the Special Pre-Trial Chamber concluded that the fact that Ms. Cristina Eugenia Lombana having the status of active-duty military officer and at the same time Supreme Court magistrate created a reasonable doubt about the lack of impartiality.
The reasons of the magistrate’s colleagues to remove her from the more than 25 criminal investigations against Uribe were “sufficient and valid,” according to the State Council.
The president’s most recent investigation is about his alleged tampering of witnesses who have testified he formed paramilitary death squad when he was governor of the Antioquia province.
Other investigations include the former president’s alleged ties to paramilitary organization AUC, two massacres and the assassinations of multiple human rights defenders.
The magistrate has gone at length to maintain access to the investigations, but has run out of legal resources after the State Council appeals chamber ratified the decision taken by the administrative court before.
Less than a year after Uribe’s protege President Ivan Duque swore in the magistrate, Lombana’s reputation and credibility are in shatters.
Not only was she was forced to admit she failed to tell the court about her previous work relation with Uribe’s lawyer, press later revealed she was married to a convicted war criminal while her husband was assassinating civilians.