Colombia and its 'institutional crisis'

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The decision of the JEP not to extradite Jesus Santrich has led to what a political sector has called an "institutional crisis"

Colombia and its 'institutional crisis'

The polarization of opinions did not wait from the moment that the Review Chamber of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace announced that they would give the former chief of the FARC the guarantee of non-extradition, which meant that he was immediately released. The news resulted in the resignation of the Attorney General of the Nation, the Deputy Prosecutor and the Minister of Justice.

Leer en español: Colombia y su ‘crisis institucional’

Less than a week after the decision of the JEP, Santrich went from having an anxiety crisis to being released to being caught again by the Prosecutor's Office with a different arrest warrant. The reason for the new capture was the knowledge of a video that incriminates him, in addition to the testimony of Marlon Marín, nephew of Iván Márquez and who is currently extradited.

Jesus Angel Bobadilla, magistrate and president of the Chamber of Review that dictated the news that put the country upside down, assured that "the application of the guarantee of non-extradition was based on the fact that the section could not evaluate the conduct to determine the precise date of its realization, given that the Department of Justice of the United States of America did not forward the requested evidence since, in the telephone interceptions of another case, sent to the JEP by the Attorney General's Office, the conduct attributed to Hernández Olarte was not disclosed ( aka Jesus Santrich) in the extradition request. "

Read also: Santrich: the protagonist of the week in Colombia

However, this assertion was not enough for many, including President Iván Duque, because they affirm that the JEP exceeded its duties and its power. Which is why Santrich did not last long in freedom before he was captured again.

For those who did not agree with the sentence of the JEP, this decision had been a sign of the impunity of the peace process and has even been branded as having created a country that "co-inhabits with drug trafficking," as said Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez. This led to the previous days saw what they themselves called an 'institutional crisis,' arguing that institutions (such as the JEP) had no legitimacy and that the entire justice needed to be reformed.

How is the 'political thing'?

As expected, the decision was not accepted by those who oppose the peace agreements and transitional justice, and that has created political chaos that many have called an "institutional crisis." Under that pretext, the former prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martínez resigned when he declared himself unable to let Santrich free. The government bench supported the decision and described it as an act of 'gallantry and bravery,' while the others described the action as disrespect for constitutionality by not following orders.

Whatever the position, the act, which for the analyst of Blu Radio, Alvaro Forero, is a political decision rather than a legal one, unleashed a whole political madness that ended in the resignation of the deputy prosecutor, María Paulina Riveros, and the minister of Justice, Gloria María Borrero.

The minister submitted her resignation the day after the decision of the JEP, that is May 16, and stated that it had nothing to do with the Santrich case, but that it was previously discussed with President Duque and the date was already agreed. The former minister had been asked on several previous occasions to resign, a request that was made from the same governing party, the Democratic Center. The reason was that some believed that he was not doing much to support the JEP's Objections, which the president presented, or to support the reform of justice.

Read also: JEP and its decision to release Jesus Santrich

President Duque announced that he received the resignation of Borrero and appointed Margarita Cabello as the new minister and ordered him to focus on the modernization of the judicial system. "We consider that your arrival will contribute a lot in the institutional relationship of the government so that all the fundamental reform that goes from the precedent, technological subjects to the normative issues related to the justice, is thriving and can generate a broad consensus in the whole country "Said Duque.

Regarding the division of opinions, the presidential address on the Santrich case and the resignation of Nestor Humberto Martínez was also highly criticized. On the night of May 15, President Iván Duque did not broadcast a message on national television, as presidential addresses usually are, but he uploaded a video to social networks. In the video of 4 minutes, he affirmed that he respected the constitution, and the separation of powers, but that he shared "the indignation of the Colombian people by the decision of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) to order the freedom of the accused of drug trafficking in the United States, aka 'Jesus Santrich' ".

What infuriated him were not his words, but how the transmission was made. It was not broadcast on radio or television but through social networks. According to Semana, "since it is not a speech, opponents can not use the reply. A political strategy of the president that avoids that his adversaries have visibility, but that diminishes the impact of his words ". With this in mind, the criticisms were immediate, stating that this was a way to censor the opposition.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

Translated from "Colombia y su ‘crisis institucional’"