In a session in which they had been meeting since 9 in the morning, the Plenary Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice decided that the process against the former president Alvaro Uribe Velez will continue to be governed by law 906 of 2004, that is to say, by the new accusatory penal system.
Thus, the high court decided a conflict of jurisdiction that had been raised by the lawyer of Senator Iván Cepeda, civil party in this case, who considered that the law that should govern the process against Uribe is the same with which it came in the Supreme Court of Justice, before the file was passed to the Prosecutor’s Office: Law 600 of 2000, or old system.
For this reason, for Cepeda’s lawyer, it was not the guarantee control judge who had to resolve Uribe’s freedom, but the Prosecutor’s Office.
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The decision this Monday was given with a presentation by magistrate Gerson Chaverra, who established that the judge did have jurisdiction to decide the release of Uribe because the process must be carried out by Law 906.
Thus, the decision of the high court was given in the sense of what Uribe’s defense, the Attorney General’s Office and the judge herself considered, who said that the accusatory system was the one that should govern the case.
But also, the Plenary Chamber of the Court it did not rule on what is the procedural stage in which this case remains. For many jurists, the fact that it follows Law 906 implies that it must start from zero, which would lead to the collapse of everything that the Examining Room had acted in this case. For others, on the other hand, even in Law 906, what has already been done by the Court can be finalized, so that the Prosecutor’s Office can decide now whether to accuse Uribe and call him to trial.
As the Court did not say anything in its ruling on the procedural stage, sources from the high court explained that establishing what stage the case against Uribe is at now will correspond to the judge 30 of control of guarantees.
Magistrates of the Court explained that the corporation did not refer to the procedural stage because there are at least two orders that say what should be done in these cases and, the high court started from the fact that the judges know the rules and have autonomy to decide in these cases.
According to sources, there is a ruling from 2014 and another from 2017 by the Criminal Cassation Chamber that establishes what should be done. These are judgments 44845 of 2014 and 48965 of 2017 of the Criminal Cassation Chamber.
These rulings establish that the change of competences to investigate and judge a criminal proceeding does not imply that what was already done in that case is eliminated, because according to the sources, as stated by the Deputy Prosecutor in the Uribe case, and as stated by these two judgments, the action has legal validity.
On the other hand, the Court did not rule either because the magistrates of the Civil Chamber brought up that the jurisprudence in this case is not only well established and they brought up Article 138 of the Code of Process, which establishes how this matter should be resolved.
That article says that when the lack of competence by an authority is declared, “the action will retain its validity and the process will be sent immediately to the competent judge.” This rule says that if there was a sentence, it should be invalidated, but the tests already carried out retain their validity and the precautionary measures already taken can be maintained.
In conclusion, the presentation decided not to resolve the procedural stage, but according to the sources the magistrates started from the conviction that the judge knows the rules and, in her autonomy, will know how to evaluate the antecedents to define how the case remains.
EL TIEMPO also learned that despite the criticism and accusations that Uribism had made against the magistrate of the Criminal Chamber Hugo Quintero, they never presented any challenge against him. Therefore, it was not necessary to evaluate whether or not he could participate in the decision, and he voted.
Uribe is investigated for bribery of witnesses and procedural fraud, crimes allegedly committed in 2018 for paramilitaries to testify in their favor and they will retract statements in which they have pointed it out with the Self-Defense Forces.
In this process, the Supreme Court had charged Uribe with and ordered his house arrest at his El Ubérrimo farm in Córdoba on August 3. However, Uribe resigned from the Senate -which was the condition for which he had jurisdiction and was investigated by the Court- and therefore the high court lost competence to continue carrying out its process and sent it to the Attorney General’s Office on 31 December. August. The case was handled by the chief prosecutor before the Court, Gabriel Jaimes.