AfGJ Statement on the Arrest Orders for Álvaro Uribe

August 4, 2020, marked a historic moment in the history of Colombia, a country with more than 50 years of civil war. On that day, Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered the detention of its current Senator and ex-President, Alvaro Uribe Velez.

In 2016, the oldest armed insurgency of the hemisphere, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC by its Spanish initials) and the Colombian government, under the leadership of President Santos, signed the peace agreement.   At the same time, the ex-president Alvaro Uribe Velez was led the forces opposing the agreement. Once the agreement was signed, his party, the Democratic Center, focused all its work to disinvest and dismantle the peace process.

Colombia continues to be the most dangerous country in the world for human rights defenders. According to Indepaz and the Marcha Patriótica (Patriotic March), over 800 human rights defenders and social leaders, and 200 ex combatants, have been murdered since the signing of the peace accords. The slow actions of the current President Ivan Duque (a strong ally of Uribe) and of the Colombian government to implement the peace accords led to a failure to bring the civilian state into the conflict zones, leaving these areas unprotected from other armed forces present in the indigenous and afro Colombian territories, the most affected sectors of this conflict. The government’s inability to prevent and prosecute attacks against defenders has allowed this genocide to continue. During these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the arm forces have continued their criminal activities further increasing the vulnerability of targeted rights defenders and local leaders.

Despite the aggressive campaign of the Democratic Center and its leader, Senator Uribe, to confuse the public opinion and to pressure and even threaten the members of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the capture of the ex-president Uribe. Today, Senator Uribe is under house arrest while the investigation continues of allegations of witness bribing and fraud in relation to the crimes committed during the longest civil war in Latin America. With this decision, the court confirms the fundamental State principal that no citizen in Colombia is above the law, the Constitution and the acts of justice. This act brings hope to the peace process in Colombia.

The Alliance for Global Justice stands in solidarity with the thousands of victims of this terrible period of Colombian history and commends the Colombian Supreme Court for doing what was right. To this end, we request the protection of the members of the Supreme Court and all Colombian social movements, and those participating in the peace process.