Colombia’s Supreme Court will begin hearing witnesses in a criminal case against former President Alvaro Uribe on September 3.
Among the 48 witnesses are 17 former members of paramilitary group AUC, some of whom have changed their testimony in the time the court was investigating witness tampering.
The court also requested all registered phone calls and visits made to the witnesses, some of whom are suspected to have been coerced to withdraw statements that incriminate Uribe or to falsely incriminate opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda.
Among the other witnesses are the country’s former chief prosecutor, politicians and the former magistrate who has investigated ties between politicians and the paramilitaries for years.
Witnesses currently in the United States
“El Tuso” the brother-in-law of Uribe’s cousin Mario and was a drug trafficker who demobilized with the AUC. He currently lives in the United States. After initially refusing to cooperate in the alleged conspiracy against Cepeda, Tuso later changed his mind, saying “I have a family.” The same drug trafficker previously falsely accused Supreme Court magistrate Ivan Velasquez of trying to bribe him. Attorney Diego Cadena was wiretapped while talking to Uribe about coercing El Tuso.
Salvatore Mancuso is the former chief of paramilitary organization AUC. He has claimed to have been set up by Uribe allies and has vowed “to tell the truth, no matter how convenient it is and to who.”
“Don Mario” is a former member of the AUC and the founder of the AGC. He was extradited in April last year, months after the court announced criminal charges against Uribe to protect “dark forces” in politics, he said just before he was extradited.
Witnesses currently in Colombia
“Victor” is a former paramilitary commander who initially testified the AUC supported Uribe’s 2002 presidential campaign, but later changed his version after he was bribed by his front’s former political chief, Euricide Cortes. This bribe was being wiretapped and allegedly endorsed by attorney Diego Cadena, who has been wiretapped talking to Uribe about coercing witnesses.
Hilda Niño is a former prosecutor who is in prison for her ties to former paramilitaries. She has accused former Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre and former Vice-Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo of conspiring against Uribe.
“Sinai” is a former paramilitary chief.
Giovanny Alberto Cadavid
Giovanny Alberto Cadavid is a former member of the AUC. Uribe asked him to testify “because of some information.”
Elmo Jose Marmol
Elmo Jose Marmol is a former member of the AUC. Uribe asked him to testify “because of some information.”
“Jopra” is a former member of the AUC.
Enrique Pardo is a cellmate of Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the key witness claiming Uribe formed Bloque Metro, who allegedly mediated a meeting between Monsalve and Lombana through his family member and Lombana’s sister-in-law Maria Mercedes Williamson
Diego Cadena is an attorney who was wiretapped while talking to Uribe about coercing El Tuso to testify against Cepeda, was wiretapped while talking to Euridice Cortes about coercing “Victor” to make false claims against Cepeda and was filmed while trying to bribe Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the key witness claiming Uribe founded Bloque Metro.
Jaime Lombana is one of Uribe’s attorneys. He met with the cell mate of Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the key witness who claims Uribe formed Bloque Metro, but was absolved by the Supreme Court of trying to coerce Monsalve.
Maria Mercedes Williamson
Maria Mercedes Williamson the sister-in-law of one of Uribe’s attorneys, Jaime Lombana, and a family member of Enrique Pardo, the cell mate of Juan Guililermo Monsalve, the key witness claiming Uribe formed Bloque Metro. She was present when Cadena allegedly tried to bribe Monsalve.
Hugo Tovar was Uribe’s debate chief during the 2002 and 2006 presidential campaigns and one of the main promoters of the 2016 campaign to reject a peace deal with the FARC.
It is unclear who Eduardo Soto is or what his relation to the case is.
Hernando Torres is a conservative politician. According to Uribe, Torres told the former president his family knew corrupt prosecutor Hilda Niño, who had testified that former Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre and his Vice-Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo were plotting against Uribe.
Hamilton Mosquera is a former paramilitary who falsely claimed Cepeda sought to bribe him.
Gustavo Adolfo Rodriguez
Gustavo Adolfo Rodriguez is Uribe’s security chief.
The Supreme Court has evidence indicating that former Bloque Metro commander “Castañeda” coerced “Simon” to give false testimony in the case against Cepeda after he was wiretapped talking to Uribe’s neighbor and alleged fellow-Bloque Metro financier Juan Guillermo Villegas.
Hernan Dario Cadavid
Euricide Cortes is the former political chief of an AUC front who was wiretapped while trying to bribe “Victor” and wiretapped while discussing this bribe with attorneys Juan Jose Salazar and Diego Cadena, who was wiretapped while talking to Uribe about witness tampering.
“Fosforito” is a former member of the AUC.
“Racumim” is a former member of the AUC.
“El Canoso” is a former AUC commander who has claimed he met with Uribe ahead of the 2002 elections to negotiate his support for the then-presidential candidate.
“Simon” is a former member of Bloque Metro, who initially testified Uribe formed the group, but changed his version and falsely testified against Cepeda after a recorded phone call “Castañeda.”
“Monoleche” is one of the drug traffickers who initially testified the Uribe family formed the 12 Aposeles death squad, but later falsely claimed that Cepeda offered him money to testify against Uribe and his brother.
Samuel Arturo Sanchez
Samuel Arturo Sanchez is the attorney of former AUC chief “Ernesto Baez.”
Juan Jose Salazar
Juan Jose Salazar is an attorney who was wiretapped while talking to Euricide Cortes to discuss the bribe of “Victor” who initially claimed Uribe was an ally of the AUC and later changed his version.
Victoria Eugenia Jaramillo
Victoria Eugenia Jaramillo used to work for the Democratic Center but later joined the Green Alliance party. She told radio station Blu that she was contacted by the Enrique Pardo, the cell mate of Juan Guillermo Monsalve, one of the key witnesses claiming Uribe founded Bloque Metro. Pardo allegedly sought a meeting in the name of Monsalve with a member of the Democratic Center of attorney Jaime Lombana to give testimony. Jaramillo said she told Uribe about this after which she was contacted by Diego Cadena who she gave Pardo’s information.
Fabian Arturo Rojas
Fabian Arturo Rojas is Uribe’s assistant in the senate.
Maria Claudia Daza
Maria Claudia Daza is another assistant of Uribe in the senate.
Mercedes Arroyave is the defense attorney of “Alberto Guerrero” and Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the two main witnesses claiming Uribe and his neighbors founded the Bloque Metro paramilitary group.
Hector Romero is the attorney of Enrique Pardo, who were recorded by Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the key witness claiming Uribe former Bloque Metro, together Diego Cadena while trying to bribe Monsalve,
Juan Carlos Giraldo
Juan Carlos Giraldo is a journalist. He has been accused by El Tuso of trying to bribe the drug trafficker to testify against the Uribe family in the 12 Apostles case, allegedly at the request of former Prosecutor General Luis Eduardo Montealegre and former Vice-Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo.
Eduardo Soto is a politician.
Luis Eduardo Montealegre
Luis Eduardo Montealegre is Colombia’s former chief prosecutor who claims to have evidence Uribe is guilty of crimes against humanity. He was accused of corrupt prosecutor Hilda Niño of conspiring to falsely accuse Uribe of having ties to paramilitary groups after which an Uribe-loyal lawmaker opened an investigation.
Jorge Fernando Perdomo
Jorge Perdomo was Montealegre’s vice-Prosecutor General who, like Montealegre, claims to have evidence Uribe is guilty of crimes against humanity. He too was accused of corrupt prosecutor Hilda Niño of conspiring to falsely accuse Uribe of having ties to paramilitary groups after which an Uribe-loyal lawmaker also opened an investigation against him.
Alberto Guerrero is one of the former AUC commanders who has claimed Uribe was a close associate of the AUC and conspired against Cepeda. He was sued by the former president for slander, but was absolved of these charges in 2018. He insists Uribe founded the Bloque Metro paramilitary group he was a member of.
Piedad Cordoba is a former Liberal Party politician who for years was the victim of a slander campaign and accused of being a member of the FARC and trying to bribe former paramilitaries. She was absolved and the government was ordered to compensate the former politician. “El Tuso” falsely accused her, Cepeda and Senator Rodrigo Lara of trying to bribe him.
Senator Rodrigo Lara was the victim of a conspiracy in which “El Tuso” falsely accused him, Cepeda and Cordoba of trying to bribe him.
Senator Ivan Cepeda revealed the testimonies of former members of Bloque Metro members who claimed Uribe founded the paramilitary group. Uribe filed criminal charges, claiming Cepeda was tampering witnesses, but was absolved in the same ruling that filed criminal charges against Uribe for witness tampering.
Ivan Velasquez is a former Supreme Court magistrate who was the victim of another slander campaign orchestrated by the Uribe administration in collusion with paramilitaries while he was investigating ties between the AUC and politicians. He now works for the United Nations.