President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday the appointment of the new minister of justice following the division of the Interior and Justice Ministry, various media reported.
The administration of former President Alvaro Uribe proposed the plan to split the Interior and Justice Ministry in December 2009 to alleviate tensions between the executive and judicial branches. The new justice minister will be the executive head of judicial affairs while the Interior Ministry will take charge of domestic issues.
Santos has fulfilled Uribe’s proposal by appointing Juan Carlos Esguerra as the head of the ministry.
“Esguerra is the ideal person to assume this office in a very important moment for the justice of the country. Esguerra is going to take posession when the ministry is ready, which we are designing. We have done many studies. We are going to listen to the opinions of the high courts. When the creation of the ministry is mature and ready, Juan Carlos will take office at that time.”
Former associate judge of the constitutional court and state council, Esguerra received his masters from Cornell University in the U.S. and served as the dean of the faculty of law at the University of Javeriana in Bogota.
Esguerra also has a long history of public service. He served as the communications minister in the 1970s and as the defense minister from 1995-1997. He was the Colombian ambassador to the United States for two years following his term as defense minister. He was recently on the shortlist to be prosecutor general, but lost the position to current Prosecutor General Vivianne Morales.
Esguerra said, “I am very honored, very committed and have a great desire to work for the most beautiful cause that I know, that is the cause of justice and the cause of law that is involved with the ministry. There is much to be done.”