Extradited paramilitary warlord ‘Jorge 40’, one of the most important
witnesses in trials against politicians who allegedly collaborated with
the paramilitaries, has refused further cooperation with Colombian justice.
The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the Colombian Supreme Court on Monday wherein it informs the court that the extradited paramilitary leader no wishes longer collaborate.
“I write you to inform you that Rodrigo Tovar Pupo [the real name of Jorge 40], through his defense attorney, has notified the Department of Justice that he does not wish to continue to participate with Colombian judicial processes,” the card read.
Because of ‘Jorge 40’s’ refusal, the Justice Department will no longer make him available for interrogations or court appearances through video conference.
The withdrawal of ‘Jorge 40’ as witness is a setback for the Prosecutor General’s Office that is in charge of the trials against politicians, who are suspected of having sought political gain through deals with the paramilitaries. Dozens of Congressmen, governors and local politicians are suspected of having used paramilitary intimidation to be voted into office.
Following the letter of the U.S. Justice Department, the Colombian government, whose coalition in Congress is affected mostly by the ‘parapolitics’ scandal, vowed it will continue to seek the collaboration of the extradited paramilitaries in the ‘parapolitics’ trials.
14 leaders of paramilitary organization AUC were extradited to the U.S. in May last year in a surprise move by the Uribe administration.The move was criticized by the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General and victims’ organizations.
AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso claims that he was extradited because his collaboration with justice was inconvenient for the Colombian government.