Diplomatic Immunity Shields Colombian President Santos From Ecuador Bombing Prosecution
Hispanically Speaking News, March 31, 2011
An Ecuadorian court provisionally dismissed Santos from the investigation concerning the 2008 bombing of a FARC camp inside Ecuador.
Sucumbíos justise Daniel Méndez announced that Juan Manuel Santos has been provisionally exonerated, since as president of Colombia he enjoys diplomatic immunity.
Six members of the Colombian armed and police forces however, do not have immunity, and Ecuador has given them three days to come up with some kind of appeal, though Colombia does not recognize the competence of Ecuadorian justice in this case. The accused include the then-commander of the military Freddy Padilla, Police Chief Oscar Naranjo, former army commander Mario Montoya, army General Jorge Ballesteros, the then-commander of the navy Guillermo Barrera and Lieutenant Colonel Camilo Alvarez.
On March of 2008, then defense minister Santos approved an operative in which bombs were dropped into a FARC camp in Agostura, Ecuador.
During the operative FARC’s number 2, Raul Reyes was killed, as well as an Ecuadorian citizen, and five Mexican college students.
Santos, who will be in Rhode Island next week to give a conference at Brown University turned to the Ecuadorian government a brief describing minutia of the 2008 operative, something former president Alvaro Uribe had refused to.
“We are living through a great moment in the bilateral relationship with the government of Juan Manuel Santos,” said Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Tuesday. “I’m not forgetting that [Santos] was the Defense Minister who orchestrated the bombing against our country, but he apologized several times. Colombia has made a commitment never to do such a barbarity ever again”
Ecuador government officials did not clarify whether Santos will be prosecuted once his presidential immunity status changes, at the end of his mandate.