Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe renounced his senate seat in the hope this will convince the Supreme Court to transfer his case to the notoriously corrupt prosecution.
In a letter to Senate President Arturo Char, Uribe formally requested his resignation for a second time, this time claiming the Supreme Court is violating his right to a fair trial.
The Supreme Court placed the former president under house arrest and suspended him from the senate earlier this month while entering the final phase of Uribe’s fraud and bribery trial.
With his resignation, the former president forces the Supreme Court to decide whether to continue investigating Uribe or transfer his case to the notoriously corrupt Prosecutor General’s Office.
Under Colombian law, the prosecution is the designated body to prosecute an alleged criminal, unless the alleged crimes were committed by a “privileged” suspect such as governors or congressmen like Uribe.
The Supreme Court may decide to transfer the case if it finds that the crimes allegedly committed by Uribe are unrelated to his privilege.
Uribe’s move is unique as no other alleged criminal has ever renounced from the senate on claims the Supreme Court was politically biased.
The former president’s resignation was accepted by the senate in an 82 to 12 vote in which the opponents reminded Uribe revoked his resignation once before on claims that “the accusations about witnesses made against me are based on events that happened while I was a senator, which maintains the competence of the Court.”
The Supreme Court opened an investigation against the former president and leader of the ruling Democratic Center party in 2018 for allegedly tampering witnesses to sustain false charges against opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda in 2014.
In a debate, Cepeda had shown video of former fighters of paramilitary group Bloque Metro testifying that Uribe and his brother had co-founded a paramilitary group when Uribe was governor of the Antioquia province in the 1990’s.
If the Supreme Court decides to keep the case, it could decide to investigate these far more serious claims made by the witnesses Uribe allies allegedly tried to intimidate.