The Supreme Court cancelled a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, scheduled to discuss Colombia’s extradition treaty with the U.S., because it feels the head of state is undermining the court’s jurisdiction.
Supreme Court President Jaime Arrubla said that numerous comments made by Uribe regarding the court recently had made a meeting inappropriate.
“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,” Arrubla said.
The magistrate said the court will send a press release to the Ministry of the Interior and the presidency to explain the motives for the meeting’s cancellation.
Uribe and the court clashed last week after judicial body ordered the arrest of Mario Aranguren, former director of the government’s Financial Information and Analysis Unit (UIAF), who is accused of involvement in the illegal wiretappings undertaken by the country’s security agency DAS.
The president criticized the arrest, calling it an “injustice” that causes a “lack of confidence” in the country’s justice system and suggesting that there may be other interests being served by the issue of the warrant.
Arrubla asked Uribe to substantiate his allegations that an unnamed “higher body” had pressured a judge to order Aranguren’s arrest. He said that the president’s comments only served the purpose of trying to frighten the judges away from doing their jobs.
On Tuesday the court announced that the judge who had issued the warrant for Aranguren’s arrest had received death threats.
Uribe and the court agreed to a meeting to discuss Colombia’s extradition policy back in mid-May, after the judicial body refused the extradition of some former paramilitary leaders.
According to Arrubla, the court’s refusals to extradite are the result of the Colombian and U.S. governments’ failure to comply with the conditions set by the court.
Human rights organizations and representatives of victims of paramilitary violence have said that the extradition of paramilitary bosses has made it impossible to investigate the crimes committed by the armed groups, and their involvement with Colombia’s political elite.