Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday swore in Viviane Morales, the country’s new Prosecutor General.
The arrival of a new Prosecutor General marks the end of an almost two-year stand-off between the Supreme Court and the President’s Office.
When the term of the last Prosecutor General Mario Iguaran ended, the Supreme Court had not yet elected a successor as it considered the shortlist handed in by former President Alvaro Uribe impracticable.
As a result, Iguaran was replaced by his deputy Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza who continued the ongoing investigations started by Iguaran in the involvement of paramilitary organization AUC in congress, alleged corruption by the Uribe administration, the extrajudicial execution of civilians by the army, and the illegal wiretapping of government opponents by state security agency DAS.
These high-profile investigations caused frequent clashes between Colombia’s judicial and executive branches until Uribe was succeeded by Santos who sought rapprochement with the country’s national courts and after an initial hesitation handed in a new Prosecutor General shortlist.
The newly installed Prosecutor General will continue the investigations initiated by Iguaran, but is also expected to unclog the country’s justice system and reorganize personnel at the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Morales is the first woman to lead Colombia’s justice system and the sixth prosecutor general since the 1991 constitution.