Colombia’s Supreme Court rejected President Alvaro Uribe’s request for a meeting to address several controversial issues that have recently caused friction between the two branches of government, Caracol Radio reported Thursday.
According to reports, the Supreme Court will send Uribe an official, written reply in the coming hours that explains the exact reasons for the rejection.
Last week, Colombia’s interior and justice minister, close Uribe ally Fabio Valencia Cossio, sent a letter to the Supreme Court on behalf of Uribe, calling for an urgent meeting between the two bodies.
According to the letter, the minister “not only seeks to address the issue of extradition, but also the constitutional order itself, and have a serious reflection on the constitutional mandate of harmonious cooperation between public authorities.”
Last week, the Supreme Court called for international intervention following continued interference with the court by the government of Uribe.
According to Arrubla’s statement, the court “calls upon the international community to give their support and solidarity to the [Colombian] judicial system, which once again is being attacked for exercising its functions, and urges the national government to implement the recommendations that have been imposed by international rapporteurs.”
The court, which has been locked in conflict with the Uribe administration over issues such as extraditions and investigations into government officials, “publicly rejected the inappropriate expressions … and undue interference to judicial autonomy” by Uribe, and demanded that “judicial decisions be respected by all authorities and citizens.”
Also last week, the Supreme Court cancelled a meeting with Uribe scheduled to discuss Colombia’s extradition treaty with the U.S., because it felt that the head of state was undermining the court’s jurisdiction.
According to Supreme Court President Jaime Arrubla, numerous comments made recently by Uribe regarding the court 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.
Uribe lashed out last week at the Colombian judiciary for its sentencing of retired army Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega for his role in the 1985 Palace of Justice siege, in addition to 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.
The president criticized the arrest, calling it an “injustice” that causes a “lack of confidence” in the country’s justice system, and suggested that there may be other interests being served by the issue of the warrant.