Uribe proposes to abolish Supreme Court amid investigation over his alleged ties to death squads

Alvaro Uribe (R) and Ivan Duque (Image: Democratic Center)

Hard-right senator Alvaro Uribe on Tuesday proposed to abolished the country’s Supreme Court, which is investigating Colombia’s ex-president’s alleged ties to a paramilitary death squad.

The controversial proposal was one of President Ivan Duque’s campaign promises ahead of elections in May and June, and has been promoted by the president’s political patron for years.

Uribe and his hard-right Democratic Center (CD) party want to abolish the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the State Council, and form one “supercourt.”

Whether the proposed bill will make it through congress and past the Constitutional Court is unlikely; other parties have rejected the idea.

The major judicial reform proposal would “end the impunity that has existed for Congressmen and magistrates,” said far-right CD Senator Paloma Valencia at a press conference.

Dozens of political allies of Uribe, a former Medellin Cartel associate, were sentenced to prison by the Supreme Court for using death squads to advance their political and economical careers in the 1990s and the first decade of this century.

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The proposal of Uribe and Valencia came a week after the Duque administration came with a watered-down proposal to reform the country’s notoriously corrupt and inefficient justice system.

Duque also wants to limit citizens’ right to sue the state if they feel their constitutional rights are being violated, for example if they are refused healthcare in life-threatening situations.

The president also wants to remove the courts’ current prerogative to propose a shortlist of candidates for administrative watchdog positions like that of the Inspector General and the Comptroller General.

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The proposals of both Duque and Uribe have been rejected by the courts and the country’s opposition as neither of the proposals seek to make the judicial branch independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The proposals also fail to address the judicial’s system chronic lack of capacity to timely try suspected criminals.

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