The congressional investigation against former President Alvaro Uribe for his alleged responsibility in the wiretapping of his political and judicial opponents reaches a new stage as the first hearing of the former head of state at 2:30PM local time will be broadcast live and monitored by several international organizations.
Controversially, the hearing will not be broadcast live by state television, because the House of Representatives’ Accusations Commission — in charge of the investigation — disallowed this because of technical difficulties, House President Carlos Alberto Zuluaga told newspaper El Tiempo.
However, Congress President Armando Benedetti told the same newspaper that there exist no technical reasons not to broadcast the hearing on the congressional channel.
“Last week, the House of Representatives … requested space on the congressional channel … to broadcast the statement of former President Uribe, which I authorized immediately,” Benedetti told the newspaper.
The Bogota Superior Criminal Court, supported by the Supreme Court, had ordered Congress in January to conduct the investigation against Uribe publicly. The former President had also requested his hearing to be public.
Private media will be broadcasting the hearing live. Newspaper El Espectador announced it will broadcast video on its website and political news website La Silla Vacia will be Tweeting from 9:00AM when the commission is scheduled to hear former Senator Piedad Cordoba, who is one of the victims of the illegal wiretapping carried out by state intelligence agency DAS.
Representatives of the United Nations and the Inter-American Court for Human Rights will be present at the hearing, while human rights NGOs have expressed their doubt about the independence of the investigation and the three-man commission in charge of the investigation.
The hearing of Uribe follows a decision of Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to formally charge some of the former President’s closest aides for the illegal spying on Supreme Court magistrates, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights workers. As Uribe’s alleged crimes were committed while he was president, he can not be investigated by the judicial branch, but must be investigated by Congress.