Colombia’s prosecutor general has requested court intervention and an investigation into the constant delays in proceedings against an army officer accused of murdering three children.
Prosecutor General Viviane Morales sent a letter to the president of the High Judicial Council, Judge Angelino Lizcano Rivera, requesting that the court do something about the series of postponements that have kept the case against Army Lieutenant Raul Muñoz Linares from proceeding.
The letter states that the case has been delayed at least four times for “extremely worrisome reasons” and requests that the council president do what is in his power to “take the necessary and sufficient measures to instruct the country’s penal judges in the importance of placing speed on the processes that are moving forward.”
Morales also asks Rivera to “use the faculties conferred by law to prevent those in question from managing to delay the proceeding through repeated and systematic substitution of defenders.”
According to the letter, the man in question in the current case has designated seven different defense lawyers throughout the process, which has caused the judges to order various postponements.
The letter went on to state that this case is only one of a number of cases in which military officials have used such tactics to prevent proceedings from moving forward.
“What is worrisome is that this is not the only case in which members of the public forces tied to judicial processes resort to repeated and systematic change of defenders in order to delay the proceedings (…) which has been confusing and delaying the judgment in cases known as ‘false positives,'” stated the letter.
Muñoz Linares has been held in prison since fall 2010 for allegedly murdering three children and raping two young girls in Tame, Arauca department, in a case in which 60 members of the armed forces were investigated.
The original presiding judge, Gloria Costanza Gaona, was gunned down in March on her way to a municipal court in northern Colombia.