A central Colombia court on Tuesday suspended the immediate dismissal of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro until it has had the opportunity to study the ruling of the Inspector General that also barred the burgomaster from holding public office for 15 years.
The administrative court of Cundinamarca, the state surrounding the Colombian capital, said in a statement that Petro may stay in office until the court is done studying a civilian’s appeal to the decision of Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez to remove the mayor from office over Petro’s attempt to bring Bogota’s trash collection under state control.
The appeal was submitted by a civilian who said to be acting as an “informal agent” of the Bogota mayor acting “in pursuit of the protection of fundamental rights to elect and to be elected, the participation in the exercise and control of political power.”
The court said it will be studying the citizen’s appeal which claims the Inspector General’s decision must be nullified as it acted against the law by removing the elected official from office.
Additionally, the court ordered President Juan Manuel Santos to refrain from signing off on the IG’s ruling, which would make Petro’s dismissal official.
Magistrate Jose Maria Armenta said the court would need a ten-day period to study the case.
In a response, the Inspector General’s Office said to respect the court’s decision and will present arguments supporting its decision to remove Petro from office and impede him from holding public office.
A separate appeal is currently being considered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, whose statute, unlike the Colombian Constitution, does not allow the suspension of political rights except in the case of a civilian trial. The court, however, is still gathering evidence before it deliberates the case or pronounces a ruling, and a decision suspending the Inspector General’s ruling would prevent sovereignty issues of its own.
- Court statement (Administrative Court of Cundinamarca)