The government of President Ivan Duque “obstructed justice” by failing to deliver a request for evidence in the case of a FARC leader who the US wants to try on vague drug trafficking charges, according to the country’s war crimes tribunal.
The court had written the United States’ Justice Department to request evidence that would support the claim that the half-blind “Jesus Santrich” sought to traffic cocaine after his group signed peace with the government.
This letter was never delivered to either the US embassy in Bogota or the Justice Department in Washington DC. According to Justice Minister Gloria Maria Borrero, state postal agency had sent the letter to Panama.
The blunder went unnoticed until the court’s 40-day time limit ended last week and created a judicial mess.
The the non-arrival of the letter constituted an event outside the jurisdiction that obstructed the proper functioning of the work of administering justice in the context of the peace agreements.
Special Jurisdiction for Peace
Because the transitional justice court does not have the authority to release Santrich, it asked President Ivan Duque and Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez to figure out whether Santrich is legally allowed to stay in jail now that the legal time limit that has passed.
Martinez put Santrich in jail at the request of the US government in April last year. President Ivan Duque has been urged by allies on the far right to ignore the transitional justice system and extradite Santrich disregarding evidence.
The court provisionally gave the government another three weeks to obtain evidence from US authorities that would allow the court to judge whether this merits Santrich’s removal from the peace process that shields him from extradition.
The Inspector General was asked to investigate the lost letter incident and see if disciplinary measure should be taken.