judge paves way for lawsuit against ex-president Alvaro Uribe

judge paves way for lawsuit against ex president Alvaro Uribe

Ultra-conservative former president Alvaro Uribe is to stand trial on charges of bribery and subordination of witnesses.

The legal saga dates back to 2012. A left-wing senator, Ivan Cepeda, accuses the former conservative president Alvaro Uribe of having created, during his two terms of office from 2002 to 2010, his own paramilitary militia. A militia which, hand in hand with the Colombian armed forces, had committed massacres against civilians to then present them as guerrillas. A militia also accused of close links with drug cartels.

Faced with these accusations, Alvaro Uribe cries conspiracy. But this strategy ultimately backfires. In 2018, the Colombian Supreme Court believes that the right-wing ex-president put pressure on potential witnesses. On Wednesday April 27 again, the prosecutor asked to close the case without further action, but the Bogota judge finally decided otherwise.

Carmen Ortiz took 12 hours to read her 300-page pitch. ” It is clear to the office that there is a possible hypothesis about the materiality of corruption in Uribe’s criminal proceedings “, she said.

A call always possible

The court’s decision may still be appealed by the defense of the former president, omnipresent in the presidential campaign for the May 29 elections. He remains one of Colombia’s most influential but also divisive political figures.

If a higher court ultimately upholds the court’s decision, Alvaro Uribe will have to be tried and could possibly be imprisoned for the crimes of which he is accused. He faces up to 12 years in prison.

This decision could have repercussions on the campaign to elect in May the successor of President Iván Duque who, according to the law, cannot stand for re-election. The favorite in the polls is former leftist guerrilla Gustavo Petro, a fierce critic of Uribe and the current government.