The attorney general, Margarita Cabello, responded that in the country “there is democracy” and that the separation of powers must be respected.
The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, accused the attorney general, Margarita Cabello, of suspending the political rights of two deputies of the Historical Pact, for which he considers that these actions “turn the country into a dictatorship.”
“You, attorney, are not a power independent of the administrative bodies. You are not criminal justice. Do not attribute functions that you do not have,” the president wrote on his Twitter account.
The Colombian president also told Cabello that he was “prohibited from suspending political rights,” such as “elect and be elected,” because to do so, “destroys the very foundation of democracy“.
You attorney, is not a power independent of the administrative bodies. You are not criminal justice. Do not attribute functions that you do not have. You are prohibited from suspending political rights. That is our constitution, that is the American convention. Respect them. https://t.co/QnrK1KQ4lI
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) May 31, 2023
With these statements, Petro refers to the decision of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Attorney General’s Office, which suspended Senator Alex Florez for eight months, who, in a state of drunkenness, called some police officers in Cartagena (Bolivar) “murderers” and “cowards”. .
In the same way, he refers to the disciplinary trial that the Attorney General’s Office opened against also Senator Wilson Arias for uttering “slanderous expressions” against a group of police officers during the social outbreak, in 2021.
A precedent in the Attorney General’s Office
In the opinion of the Colombian president, these decisions against the deputies of the political coalition that supported his presidential candidacy “turn the country into a dictatorship.”
“That ended with the sentence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and, as head of State, I will enforce it,” he added, referring to the guardianship that he introduced before that body, in 2014, so that a decision of the Inter-American Court would be without effect. Prosecutor’s Office that suspended and disqualified him from his position as mayor of Bogota, in 2013.
Subsequently, in 2020, the aforementioned regional instance declared the international responsibility of the Colombian State for violating Petro’s rights when he was mayor, and ruled that the decision of the Attorney General’s Office had been a “violation of the American Convention on Human Rights.”
The attorney’s response
In a statement to the media, Cabello stated that the Attorney General’s Office, “by constitutional order, has the power to investigate and sanction public servants.”
The head of that body also asserted that in the country “there is democracy” and that this contemplates “respect for the institutions and the guarantee of the separation of powers”.
Regarding Petro’s remarks, he stated: “Judicial and administrative decisions, such as disciplinary actions, are respected, complied with and if they want to be disputed, they are made within that process.”
In recent weeks, the Colombian president has had a series of differences with public organizations such as the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. The former is required to report the results of the investigation into the murder of 200 people, which would have been ordered by the Clan del Golfo, and the latter is blamed for violating the rights of Florez, Arias, Roy Barreras, whose election as senator was annulled by the Council of State.
The heads of both entities, for their part, have accused the Colombian president of disrespecting the separation of powers and institutional independence.