On the 14th day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme court will hear the victim of former President Alvaro Uribe‘s alleged criminal practices and the magistrate who got dozens of corrupt congressmen in prison.
These two witnesses, Senator Ivan Cepeda and former magistrate Ivan Velasquez, are the last and most powerful witnesses against Uribe.
Witness #41 | Ivan Cepeda
Had it not been for leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda, Uribe wouldn’t be in court.
After hearing from multiple witnesses that Uribe had formed the Bloque Metro paramilitary group in the 1990s, Cepeda called a debate and the former president filed witness manipulation charges in 2014.
It was during this investigation that the Supreme Court found evidence indicating that not Cepeda, but Uribe had been bribing witnesses to file fraudulent criminal charges.
The court absolved Cepeda in February last year in the same ruling in which the fraud and bribery charges against Uribe were announced.
According to the court, Uribe committed these crimes to discredit the testimonies linking him to the Bloque Metro, “politically finish off Ivan Cepeda and discredit the political debate he was promoting about paramilitarism in Antioquia.”
The ruling turned everything upside down. Uribe, who claimed to be the victim of a conspiracy, became the alleged mastermind of a conspiracy. Cepeda went from being an alleged conspirator to the victim of an alleged conspiracy.
As the certified victim, Cepeda will testify against Uribe, the man who wanted to “politically finish him off,” and could end up in prison for it.
Witness #41 | Ivan Velasquez
Ivan Velasquez is one of Latin America’s most powerful jurists and has known Uribe since before the 1990s, first as Medellin‘s inspector, then as a prosecutor and ultimately as magistrate of the Supreme Court.
Basically, while Uribe was becoming more powerful in politics, Velasquez became more powerful in fighting crime.
Their careers clashed in 2007 when Uribe was president and Velasquez was the Supreme Court’s lead investigator of ties between paramilitary group AUC and politicians.
When Velasquez began investigating Uribe’s cousin Mario for his ties to paramilitary groups, the presidential palace, intelligence agency DAS and former AUC member embarked on a major conspiracy to take down Velasquez.
They failed miserably; Uribe’s cousin, some of the former president’s closest aides and the director of DAS were thrown in prison and the intelligence agency was dismantled.
While Uribe’s power slowly faded, Velasquez’ star was still rising.
In October 2013, the United Nations appointed the jurist head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala after which he proceeded to investigate state crimes in that country.