The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has announced it will revise the case of the disputed dismissal of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro over “irregularities” in the city’s waste disposal, and that a decision may be made before the week is over.
Following a meeting between the executive secretary of the court, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, and the Colombian public official, Alvarez Icaza confirmed that six members of the Court will examine Petro’s petition and consequently vote on whether or not to comply with his demands.
In a press conference, Petro stated that although there were no previous examples of cases resembling his, he was within his rights to appeal to the Court.
“Our Constitution establishes that the international treaties on human rights signed by Colombian are part of the constitutional body,” the mayor stated. “There is nothing more important in the world than human rights.”
In conversation with Spanish newspaper El Pais, the president of the I/A Court, Diego Garcia-Sayan, supported Petro’s right to appeal, and voiced his faith in the Colombian government.
“In the Court’s legislation it has been established that when exercising one’s political rights, the rules of the Convention fully apply, including those concerning suspension,” Garcia-Sayan explained in an interview published on Wednesday.
“In any case, knowing the vigor and dynamism of Colombia’s institutions, I’m certain they will be able to find a solution that juggles an effective sanctioning process against authorities, elected or not, whilst guaranteeing the political rights of those elected into public office.”
The mayor and ex-militant with urban guerrilla group M-19 flew into Washington on Wednesday after a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, in which they discussed his ousting earlier last week by Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez over Petro’s botched reform of the capital’s waste collection.
On the same day, the member of the House of Representatives Carlos Ariel Sanchez confirmed that a public referendum to decide on whether or not Petro should remain in power — motivated by a separate incident involving the mismanagement of public capital — would take place in the next couple of months.
Although Petro’s case is the first of its kind to be presented to the I/A Court, it closely resembles the successful lawsuit filed against the Venezuelan government in 2009 by ex-mayor Leopoldo Lopez, who was banned from office and the regional 2008 elections. The I/A Court condemned the move by ex-President Hugo Chavez’s government at the time, claiming that the country’s internal legislation could not overrule international laws, which would have demanded proper court proceedings.
- “En América Latina la gente ya siente que tiene derechos y que puede ejercerlos” (El Pais)
- CONVENCION AMERICANA SOBRE DERECHOS HUMANOS (Organization of American States)
- CASO LÓPEZ MENDOZA VS. VENEZUELA (Inter-American Court of Human Rights)
- La CorteIDH dice que caso Petro debe ser revisado (El Heraldo)