Former Bogota mayor to sue Santos over impeachment

Posted on Mar 21 2014 - 6:58am by Rico
Juan Manuel Santos (L) and Gustavo Petro

Ousted Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro said Thursday he will sue Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for failing to ignore an international human rights commission’s order to keep Petro in office, reported W Radio Thursday.

The legal defense team of embattled Ex-Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro led by Jorge Molana will sue Santos before the Accusation Commission of the Colombian House of Representatives, reported newspaper La Vanguardia.

The House commission is a congressional body in charge of carrying out investigations against elected public officials like the president.

Petro’s defense team will sue Santos for his refusal to acknowledge an order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordering Santos to take not follow up on a decicion taken by the Inspector General’s Office in December to impeach the leftist burgomaster.

“The commission orders that Colombia immediately suspend the effects of the decision of December 9 2013, emitted and ratified by the Inspector General’s office January 13, 2014, in order to guarantee the exercise of political rights of Mr. Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego and allow him to complete the period of time, for which he was elected to serve as the mayor of Bogota on October 30 2011.”

Colombia is a member nation of the IACHR, the highest human rights body in the Americas, which means Colombia is legally required to adhere to the commission’s decisions by both IACHR regulations and Colombia’s own constitution.

MORE: Santos ignores international court ruling, replaces Bogota mayor

Santos argued after he signed a decree dismissing Petro on Wednesday night, however, that the IACHR’s rulings are “optional” and that adherence to court’s orders are only necessary when there is a “malfunction or failure of the internal system.”

Santos’s administration has also indicated that it will not attend a hearing of the IACHR scheduled for Monday concerning Petro’s dismissal.  The President reportedly views attending the hearing as “pointless” since the Colombian government has already rejected the IACHR’s precautionary measures order.

MORE: Colombia will not attend IACHR hearing on Bogota’s ousted mayor

However, critics of the decision have said that Santos violated Colombians’ right to vote and violated constitutional law obligating any Colombian government to abide by rulings of international human rights courts.

A former Constitutional Court magistrate told Colombia Reports that he did not see a “direct and clear” violation of the Constitution in regards to Santos’ refusal to ignore in IACHR’s ruling.

MORE: Ignoring IACHR No ‘Direct And Clear’ Violation Of Colombia’s Constitution: Former Magistrate

According to former magistrate Alfredo Beltran the IACHR rulings are however “binding, and that’s what is under discussion.“

Petro was initially impeached by the Inspector General’s Office in December over attempts to bring the capital’s trash collection under government control. The measure resulted in three days of accumulated garbage in 2012.


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