Colombia’s Inspector General absolved a former Supreme Court magistrate of procedural fraud charges, clearing the name of the man who successfully prosecuted dozens of congressmen with ties to death squads.
The now-silenced claims against former Supreme Court magistrate Ivan Velasquez held that he acted beyond his powers on the Supreme Court, releasing photocopies of documents concerning cases he was working on without first completing a formal application — weak claims at best, as Velasquez’s lawyer declared the files were public.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez announced to investigate Velasquez in September 2014, days after the former magistrate criticized the Inspector General’s decision to absolve the former legal secretary of former President Alvaro Uribe, an ideological ally of the inspector general.
The former legal secretary, Edmundo del Castillo, was reportedly charged half a year later over a meeting in the presidential palace in 2008 between Uribe’s closest aides and representatives of demobilized paramilitary organization AUC.
During this meeting, Del Castillo and other top officials met with AUC representatives, including the attorney of a paramilitary fighter called “Tasmania.”
Tasmania subsequently accused Velasquez of trying to bribe him, but was later forced to admit this was a hoax and intended to discredit the magistrate.
The Tasmania conspiracy was just one of numerous attempts by the former administration to discredit the Supreme Court and the magistrate investigating the ties between the AUC and the country’s political elite in a scandal that became known as “parapolitics.”
However, as Ordoñez was investigating the former Supreme Court magistrate, Velasquez was appointed lead investigator of a UN commission investigating corruption in Guatemala.
The investigation spurred the arrest of Guatemalan President Otto Perez and turned the jurist into an internationally renowned, and feared, prosecutor, making Ordoñez’ investigation look even more suspicious than it already did before the anti-corruption magistrate became an internationally acclaimed anti-corruption fighter.