Colombia’s President Ivan Duque suffered a major defeat on Wednesday when the Constitutional Court agreed with Congress to reject his objections to the country’s war crimes tribunal.
The president said he accepted the court ruling after previously promising to sign off on the statutory bill that defines the powers of the Special Tribunal for Peace (JEP).
I accept the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the objections to the JEP, but it is necessary to reflect on the tools that must remain open to correct things that are not going well.
President Ivan Duque
The court was asked to rule on whether the Senate’s majority vote to reject Duque’s objections obtained enough votes last month.
Senate President Ernesto Macias of Duque’s far-right Democratic Center (CD) party refused to acknowledge the vote earlier this month, claiming that the “pro-peace” coalition was one vote short for an absolute majority.
The constitutional court dismissed Macias’ vote count, confirming Duque’s objections were rejected by both houses of Congress.
The controversial senate president is already part of a Constitutional Court investigation into alleged illegal attempts to alter the statutory law after it was passed by Congress.
Duque and his party have opposed the JEP and the peace process with now-demobilized FARC guerrillas for years and on multiple occasions have tried to sabotage the peace process.
Particularly the JEP is controversial because it will investigate war crimes committed by the FARC and the military that have long been ignored by the country’s justice system.
Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office last week announced it would seek criminal charges against more than 2,300 businessmen and 3,300 state officials as part of the peace process.
Colombia to seek charges against 2300 civilians and 3300 state officials over ties to paramilitary death squads
The Supreme Court opened a criminal investigation against former President and CD leader Alvaro Uribe over his alleged tampering of witnesses who have testified he formed a death squad in the 1990s.
The only way Uribe and other alleged war criminals can investigate could evade trial before the country’s ordinary justice system and possible lengthy prison sentences is by voluntarily submitting to the JEP, vow to tell the truth and repair their victims.