The Inspector General of Colombia responded to the President of the Constitutional Court Thursday, saying that precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) are not obligatory, according to El Espectador newspaper.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez reiterated that precautionary measures issued by the IACHR are not linked to the Colombian justice system and have no binding force.
This declaration comes less than a day after Luis Vargas, president of the Constitutional Court, said that the “jurisprudence” of his high court believes that such measures and orders from the IACHR should be taken “much more seriously” as they are “linked” with Colombia’s justice system
Ordoñez reasoned that these mandates must only be obeyed when they make specific reference to the right to life or the right to personal integrity.
Vargas stated that precedents exist that defend their jurisprudence that such measures from the international commission that deal with fundamental rights should be obeyed.
The Inspector General disagreed, specifying that mandates concerning political rights in particular should not be included in reasons to obey the IACHR.
“[The precedents] make reference to the right to life and the right to personal integrity, but not to political rights, and for this reason those precedents are not applicable,” said Ordoñez alleging that there is no precedent to protect political rights.
The dismissal of former Bogota Mayor, Gustavo Petro is central to this debate, although Vargas would cite an academic discussion. Following an investigation into “irregularities” over Bogota’s garbage collection, Petro dismissed from his office and banned from holding public office for 15 years by Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez.
For almost five months since Ordoñez made that initial decision, Petro has been fighting for his job and political future, hitting walls at every turn.
In the wake of President Juan Manuel Santos ignoring an IACHR precautionary measure, ordering the suspension of Petro to be halted, the authority of IACHR has been called into question.
The debate has risen well above the dismissal of Petro as different governing bodies argue not over his specific case, but over the legality of these precautionary measures, and how Colombia should treat them.