Statement by the President, Iván Duque Márquez, in front of the decision of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) on the case of aka ' Jesus Santrich'.


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May 15, 2019

Official Presidential Page

Bogotá, May 15, 2019

Colombians:

The National Government respects the Constitution and, therefore, the separation of powers. However, we share the indignation of the Colombian people for the decision of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) to order the release of the syndicate for drug trafficking in the United States, alias 'Jesus Santrich'.

The accused 'Santrich' was captured by orders of the Attorney General's Office for the purpose of extradition for the commission of the crime of drug trafficking on April 9, 2018. As indicated by the Attorney General, there is conclusive and unequivocal evidence with respect to to the commission of the crime of drug trafficking after December 1, 2016.

Recidivism in drug trafficking crimes or any other criminal behavior is an attack on the victims and the entire country and, therefore, sanctions must be applied that respond forcefully to legality and justice.

Two of the objections for inconvenience that I presented to the Congress of the Republic, related to the weakening of extradition, seek to avoid this type of outcome that today outrages us. Acting with the Constitution in hand and defending legality and the Rule of Law, as well as strengthening international judicial cooperation, were some of the reasons why we presented objections to the Statutory Law of the JEP.

The National Government supports the decision of the Procurator General of the Nation to appeal the decision, because we are not dealing with a closed case. All the institutions of the State will guarantee the application of justice, judicial cooperation, and all the tools at their disposal so that there is no impunity will be used.

I regret the resignation of the Attorney General of the Nation, with whom we have worked with determination in the fight against crime and corruption, and who with all his team have been defenders of the Social State of Law.

I will preserve above all the institutional strenght of our country. I call on the political parties to carry out the necessary reforms that will allow us to close the doors to drug trafficking, to impunity, and to strengthen extradition as one of the mechanisms that have proven effective in the fight against transnational criminals.

As President of the Republic, I have been, am and will always be ready to sign the extradition of alias 'Jesus Santrich' and of any other accused for drug trafficking, in accordance with the Constitution and the Law. The genuine truth, the genuine justice, the Genuine reparation and the genuine guarantee of non-repetition of the victims would be at risk in case of tolerating criminal recidivism. Justice must always be, always, at the service of the victims and not of the perpetrators.

Drug trafficking in Colombia represents a serious disturbance of public order that threatens institutional stability in different regions of the country. The killings of social leaders, the influence of cartels in vulnerable regions, the expansion of illicit crops, and the weakening of tools such as extradition are threats that we will face with all the options offered by the Constitution.

I want it to be clear to all the Colombian people that our country will not cohabitate with drug trafficking.