The case against former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez continues to generate controversy and tensions between the Attorney General’s Office and the judiciary, as it has not been closed due to the existence of sufficient evidence to support the investigation. Uribe faces accusations of procedural fraud, witness tampering, and bribery in criminal proceedings, and the possibility of being put on trial represents an unprecedented event in Colombian history.
In August 2020, Uribe resigned as a senator after the Supreme Court of Justice ordered his preventive house arrest after he was charged with the aforementioned crimes. This action led to the process being transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office, as Uribe was no longer a public official at that time.
Initially, the Prosecutor’s Office requested to archive the case on two occasions, alleging a lack of evidence to charge Uribe. However, Judge Carmen Ortiz rejected both requests. Recently, the new prosecutor in the case, Javier Cárdenas, again requested that the case be closed, arguing that there is no evidence to prove that Uribe urged the witnesses to lie.
Faced with the judge’s decision, prosecutor Cárdenas filed an appeal before the Superior Court of Bogotá. At the hearing, the prosecutor expressed his desire to have the judge’s sentence overturned and the investigation against Uribe precluded, arguing the lack of documentary or testimonial evidence to prove the former president’s involvement in false testimony or bribery of witnesses.
Uribe’s judicial situation has been further complicated by the fact that his personal lawyer, Diego Cadena, is on trial for allegedly offering bribes to ex-paramilitary witnesses to change their testimonies in Uribe’s favor. These accusations arose from the statements of a former paramilitary, Juan Guillermo Monsalve, who claimed that Uribe and his brother had links to paramilitarism.
Judge Barrera’s decision allows the investigation against Uribe to continue and opens the possibility of bringing him to trial, but the decision of the Bogota Superior Court is pending. According to criminal law experts, even if the court upholds the judge’s decision, the Prosecutor General’s Office could still slow down the process and delay the trial for up to three years by starting an investigation again in search of evidence. However, this would be considered an unfortunate and unlikely move.
In summary, the case against former President Uribe is still ongoing, with the prosecutor’s office and the judiciary in disagreement over whether to close the file. The possibility of bringing a former president to trial creates an unprecedented scenario in Colombia, and the decision of the Superior Court of Bogotá is awaited to determine the future course of the process.
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