OAS Agrees to Monitor Uribe Case

Evidence of judicial irregularities being sent to regional human rights council

The Organization of American States (OAS) is the latest international organization to agree to monitor the legal case against former President Álvaro Uribe Velez. The decision comes after Uribe’s defense team, led by attorney Victor Mosquera, held a virtual meeting with a senior OAS delegation led by Secretary General Luis Almagro on Thursday.

Mosquera told Semana that his team had a series of meetings in recent days with international organizations, specifically with the OAS and the United Nations, to bring attention to Uribe’s legal situation in Colombia and the judicial irregularities within the case.  These include the use of illegal wiretaps, unexplained financial associations between the investigative judge and Uribe’s political adversaries, suppression of exculpatory evidence and other violations of due process.

The OAS was made aware of the due process violations on August 3, hours before Uribe was arrested without charge in the case. Thursday’s meeting was held to develop the multilateral organization’s next move, which includes sending the evidence of irregularities to the Inter-American Council of Human Rights (IAHCR) to monitor the case on behalf of the leading regional body.  Mosquera said many of those in attendance on Thursday expressed concern over “serious indications” of due process violations.

The move comes after U.S. Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL) sent a letter on October 14 to Almagro asking him to monitor Uribe’s case and warning that failure to guarantee due process “can deteriorate the frameworks and institutions of democracy in our hemisphere.”

Uribe’s defense is petitioning the United Nations Secretary General to monitor the former president’s case, Mosquera said. The OAS joins several other international organizations committed to monitor violations of human rights and due process in the Uribe case. In September, the Human Rights Institute (HRI), part of the World Jurists Association, issued a statement noting it found evidence of an “arbitrary dentition” of Uribe, “which violates his human rights.” Earlier this month, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global organization of national parliaments, also announced it would monitor the case and demanded information from the Colombian Congress.