With only days to go before Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos‘ inauguration, there is confusion in Ecuador over whether a request for the new Colombian leader’s extradition has been processed.
Ecuadorean prosecutor Carlos Jimenez announced Tuesday night that the processing of the request for Santos’ extradition had begun.
However, according to the judge presiding over the case, Daniel Mendez, the order “has not been requested,” a statement backed by the president of Ecuador’s National Court of Justice, Jose Vicente Troya.
Colombian lawyer and congressman German Navas Talero told El Espectador that any such extradition request will not be effective after August 7. “As president of the republic, Juan Manuel Santos has immunity and can not be arrested, if he travels to Ecuador. For the arrest to be effective, they will have to wait until his term finishes.”
Santos’ spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
In April, an Ecuadorean court issued a warrant for Santos’ arrest, for his alleged “intellectual” responsibility for a 2008 Colombian army cross-border attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador that killed guerrilla leader “Raul Reyes” and 26 others.
The incident led Ecuador to break diplomatic ties with Colombia, claiming its neighbor had violated Ecuador’s sovereignty. Relations are currently in the process of being repaired. Santos was Colombia’s defense minister at the time of the raid.
In response to the arrest warrant, Colombia’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that it “does not recognize the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Ecuadorean justice to investigate and try former and present Colombian officials.”
This is the second time that Ecuador has filed charges against Santos, along with the commander of the Colombian armed forces Freddy Padilla, for the officials’ role in the incident.
An Ecuadorean judge in charge of the case ruled in February that there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case.
However, in early March Judge Francisco Revelo decided to re-file the charges against the former defense minister.
Santos will be inaugurated on August 7.