Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos will next week meet with representatives of the country’s Supreme Court to discuss repairing broken relations between the executive and judicial branches of Colombia’s government, reported Caracol Radio on Tuesday.
The meeting, which will take place next Wednesday morning, will be attended by president of the Council of State, Fernando Alvarez, Supreme Court Justice Jaime Arrubla, president of the Higher Council of the Judiciary, Francisco Escobar and Constitutional Court President Mauricio Gonzalez Cuervo, as well as the president-elect.
Justice representatives say that no topic will be vetoed from discussion during the meeting, but that a focus would be put on the division of the country’s Interior and Justice Ministry into two separate entities.
“Right now we are open to talk on the subject of justice in general, President Santos talked about recognizing the autonomy and the independence of the judiciary and about fairness and speed in administering justice, which corresponds to the rights of the citizen,” said Gonzalez Cuervo.
In his acceptance speech following his election to the presidency Sunday evening, Santos said that the current “train crash” between the executive and the judiciary is “unhealthy” and promised to meet with the courts to find a solution as to how they can work in harmony.
The Supreme Court’s acting president Jaime Arrubla also said Monday that the judiciary was willing to meet with Santos to discuss the reparation of tensions that exist between the Court and current President Alvaro Uribe.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected Uribe’s request for a meeting to address several controversial issues that have recently caused friction between the two branches of government.
Uribe lashed out two weeks ago at the Colombian judiciary for its sentencing of retired army Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega for his role in the 1985 Palace of Justice siege. The outgoing president has also criticized the judiciary’s arrest order for Mario Aranguren, former director of the government’s Financial Information and Analysis Unit, who is accused of involvement in the illegal wiretapping undertaken by the country’s security agency DAS.
Arrubla reacted, saying “Definitively it can be said that the comments made by the president last week created a mood of disharmony for a meeting of this nature.”