Colombia’s Supreme Judiciary Council has confirmed their rejection of over 300 public demands in favor of the ousted mayor of Bogota which could have prevented his dismissal and 15-year ban from office.
With a vote of six to one, on Thursday the Disciplinary Chamber of Colombia’s Superior Judicial Council denied 326 writs of protection — documents that can be filed by any citizen in protection of fundamental rights and which must be seen by a judge within 10 days — made on behalf of Bogota Mayor, Gustavo Petro, to overturn the inspector general’s decision to dismiss him and ban him from office for 15 years.
In December 2013, Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez removed Mayor Petro from his position in Colombia’s capital city due to “irregularities” uncovered by the inspector general. Petro was accused of fraud and “serious offense” in his failed attempt to reform the city’s waste collection services.
However, the decision was vehemently contested, and a series of appeals have arisen to stop the mayor being removed from office. While on Thursday the Supreme Judiciary Council approved a negative appeal that invalidated the citizens’ writs of protection, Wednesday also saw the State Council firmly rejected an appeal in Petro’s defense.
At the meeting on Thursday, the majority of the Supreme Judiciary Council welcomed the arguments made by magistrate Pedro Alonso Sanabria, which meant to overturn a January ruling by the administrative court of Cundinamarca in favor of the 326 writs of protection.
Sanabria was successful, stating first and foremost that the inspector general had the constitutional authority to investigate and take disciplinary action against officials elected by popular vote.
“Article 277 of the Constitution gives power to the inspector general to impose sanctions on officials, including those who have been elected,” Sanabria told Semana newspaper.
The decision had been delayed by two days after a last-minute request by Petro — which arrived just as the magistrates had cast the damning vote on Tuesday — caused magistrate Ovidio Claros Polanco to adjourn the decision until the mayor’s demands had been studied.
- Aplazan debate Juridico (Judicial Office)
- Judicatura negó tutelas contra destitución de Gustavo Petro (Semana)