Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Monday that Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos could be arrested if he enters Ecuador, due to an outstanding warrant against him.
Correa told Reuters in an interview in Caracas that the arrest warrant – issued by an Ecuadorean court for then-Defense Minister Santos’ alleged intellectual responsibility for a 2008 Colombian attack on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean soil – is still valid, and as president he can not interfere in legal processes.
“The justice system is independent and I can not do anything,” Correa said. He added that he hoped the legal matter would be resolved, but it is out of his hands.
“The Ecuadorean justice system does not persecute people. It is not persecuting Santos, but rather a crime. What happened in March 2008 was a clearly defined crime and it should be investigated,” Correa said.
Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia in 2008, following the attack, in which 26 people, including FARC leader “Raul Reyes,” were killed. Both nations have expressed a desire to rebuild ties, but revelations that Colombian security agency DAS allegedly wiretapped Correa have placed a further strain on relations.
Ecuador announced Monday that it would continue investigations into the spying allegations, despite a strong denial by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, which Ecuadorean authorities described as “important.”
Ecuador has also repeatedly stated that the rebuilding of diplomatic ties is dependent on Colombia handing over information from files found on Raul Reyes’ computer after the raid. Colombia has alleged that the files implicate Correa’s government in complicity with the FARC.