According to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), wiretaps and a photo of the former guerrilla leader surrendered by Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez fail to prove Santrich’ alleged involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy.
Unless either the prosecution or the DEA provides evidence supporting claims that Santrich participated in a drug deal, the former FARC leader is shielded from extradition as part of a 2016 peace deal and must be released from jail to await trial over crimes against humanity.
The Review Section stressed that evidence is the means to ensure due motivation of a judicial decision, to avoid arbitrariness and thus guarantee the right to due process.
Special Jurisdiction for Peace
Martinez’ latest blunder?
The court decision a major embarrassment for Martinez, because it implies that the chief prosecutor ordered the arrest of Santrich in April without evidence.
The chief prosecutor was embarrassed earlier this year after he was forced to release the arrested owners of a supermarket chain he had accused of being FARC money launderers without evidence.
Martinez has refused to surrender evidence related to Santrich until earlier this month after which it became evident Santrich never agreed to meet with Mexican drug traffickers as claimed by the DEA, but was told by a DEA informant that he would meet with foreign businessmen interested in investing in FARC reintegration projects.
War crimes tribunal focuses on DEA informant
The court ordered Martinez, who has been accused of “categorically meddling” and even intimidating the war crimes tribunal, to surrender additional evidence, specifically recordings of phone conversations of the DEA informant, Marlon Marin.
The Section ordered to have as evidence, among others, the audios of interception of communications collected in the investigations carried out against Mr. Marlon Marin… The Section requested the Prosecutor General to provide the original audios or, if failing to do so, exact copies within five days of notification of the decision, for which it should attach the order given by the Deputy Prosecutor for the interception of communications, as well as the minutes or records of the hearings of control of legality.
Special Jurisdiction for Peace
Martinez has said that the prosecution began wiretapping Marin, the nephew of FARC leader “Ivan Marquez,” on suspicion he was trying to embezzle funds meant for a peace process.
It was during this investigation that Marin allegedly ended up bartering a drug deal with an undercover DEA agent pretending to be an emissary of a Mexican drug cartel.
Marin was flown to the US by the DEA after the arrest of Santrich and has reportedly since disappeared.
Government reluctant to request evidence from the US
The court ordered the Foreign Ministry to request “the evidence supporting the extradition request by the United States of America.”
Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez, a former Defense Minister who could be implicated in war crimes herself, rejected the court order, claiming that the court’s “objective and competence is not revising the current doctrine in regards to the extradition of narcos.”
The war crimes tribunal has been on a collision course with both the controversial chief prosecutor and the administration of President Ivan Duque, whose political allies and economic backers have been accused of war crimes.
The mission chief of the United Nations, which monitors the peace process, already urged the government to “respect” the transitional justice system that came into force earlier this year to seek justice for the more than 8.5 million war victims.
The possibly tens of thousands of victimizers, that allegedly include powerful politicians, military officials and business leaders, have long enjoyed virtually absolute impunity.