No investigation against judge that suspended Bogota mayor’s dismissal

Posted on Jan 15 2014 - 8:59pm by Editor
Gustavo Petro

Justice officials abstained from an investigation against the judge that suspended the Bogota mayor’s dismissal on Tuesday, national media reported on Wednesday.

After a central Colombia court suspended the immediate dismissal of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro on Tuesday, the responsible judge,  Jose Armenta, was accused of a disciplinary offence after failing to announce his wife’s employment at a company contracted by the city of Bogota.

MORE: Court suspends dismissal of Bogota mayor

According to El Espectador, the judge’s wife worked for a company that received contracts for managing the trash collecting system of Bogota, leading a conflict of interest, because Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez’s decision to remove the mayor from office was based on irregularities during Petro’s attempt to bring Bogota’s trash collection under state control.

According to Caracol Radio, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Justice Counsel convened to decide if it would start a disciplinary investigation against judge Armenta.

Subsequently, national newspaper El Tiempo reported that the Disciplinary Chamber announced the abstention of the disciplinary investigation due to the lack of a formal appeal process.

“The Chamber decided that the ordered suspension is part of the juridical and functional autonomy of the court,” the Chamber’s president, Wilson Ruiz, was quoted saying in El Tiempo.

Ruiz went on that the only way that the Chamber would initiate a disciplinary investigation against Judge Jose Armenta, would be the filing of a formal appeal, which has not happened at this point.

This is why, according to the official, that the Chamber has not investigated the accusations concerning Armenta’s wife working for a company contracted by the city of Bogota in further detail.

“We always work with proof. There are media claims, but no documents,” the Chamber’s president justified its decision via El Espectador.

Civilian’s appeal

Also this morning, the civilian on whose appeal the judge’s decision to suspend the Major’s destitution was based, Jose Gotardo Perez, defended himself against conflict of interest accusations stemming from his employment as a district employee.

In a radio interview with Blue Radio, Perez insisted that even though as a retired ranking police officer and his current position as an adviser in the district’s secretary, he filed that appeal “as a citizen not as a district functionary.”

He also affirmed his claim that the mayor’s destitution would constitute a major violation of his constitutional right to vote, stating that “like I have defended the institution and the law for 35 years as a policeman, I do so now as a citizen.”

Time periods

According to Caracol Radio, with the affirmation of the suspension of the Mayor’s destitution, the central Colombia court now has ten days to evaluate Perez’s appeal.

After these ten days, the court’s decision will be revised by the State Counsel whose decision might take another 15 to 20 days.

However, Perto’s layers could also go to the Constitutional Court whose evaluation of the appeal might last up to several months.

A separate appeal is currently being considered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, whose statute, unlike the Colombian Constitution, does not allow the suspension of political rights except in the case of a civilian trial.

The court, however, is still gathering evidence before it deliberates the case or pronounces a ruling, and a decision to dismiss the Inspector General’s ruling would prevent sovereignty issues of its own.

Sources

No hay investigación contra magistrado que frenó destitución de Petro (El Tiempo)

Judicatura estudiará si investiga a magistrado que suspendió fallo de Petro (Caracol Radio)

Tutela que favoreció a Petro fue instaurada por un contratista del Distrito (El Espectador)

“Tutela no fue por ser funcionario distrital”: hombre que puede salvar a Petro (Blue Radio)

Estos serían los tiempos con los que cuenta el alcalde Petro (Caracol Radio)

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