The U.S. Embassy suspected a former Supreme Court president of obstructing investigations into the paramilitary ties of politicians from the magistrate’s home region, according to a WikiLeaks cable.
In a cable dated November 17, 2006, an anonymous source told then-U.S. Ambassador William Wood that the departure of the former Supreme Court President, Carlos Isaac Nader, had helped the ongoing investigations into politicians from the northern Sucre department with ties to paramilitary organizations.
This was due to Sucre-native Nader’s active role in blocking investigations into these politicians, the source said.
The statement came in reference to the arrest on November 9, 2006, of three members of Congress from Sucre; Senator Alvaro Garcia, Senator Jairo Merlano, and Representative Erik Morris. Such an arrest would never have been possible while Nader was presiding, according to the source.
Another prominent factor the cable highlights as helping the investigation was the death of the paramilitary leader in the area, Rodrigo Mercado, alias “Cadena.” His departure enabled lower-ranking paramilitaries to reveal secrets about their ties with politicians.
All three politicians from Sucre were subsequently charged by the Colombian Supreme Court with aggravated conspiracy to commit criminal activity. Garcia was also accused of backed the massacre of Macayepo on October 16, 2000, in which 15 people were killed.
The cable also relays how then-President Alvaro Uribe gave his full support for such measures at an event on November 17, 2006, stating, “where there are congressmen, political leaders or executive officials involved in crime, they must go to jail.”
Since being placed under investigation in 2006, Erik Morris and Jairo Merlano were later cleared in 2008 when a judge declared that there was not enough evidence to incriminate the two. Alvaro Garcia was barred from holding office for 20 years.
The case against Jairo Merlano was brought back under revision by the Supreme Court in January 2011.
Since leaving his position as president of the Supreme Court, Nader has largely disappeared from public view though he is now known to be working as an advisor to the Nule group, a Colombian construction company under investigation for alleged back-room dealings with Bogota officials.