President Gustavo Petro responded to the letter sent to him by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office demanding security guarantees after a helicopter transporting a commission from these institutions was attacked by gunfire in the municipality of Tierralta, Córdoba. Unit teams were traveling to investigate military intimidation of residents in this part of the country.
In the letter, prosecutor Francisco Barbosa and lawyer Margarita Cabello called on the head of state, as commander of the public armed forces, to demand and guarantee that judicial officers not only can do their work, but also that their lives are not put at risk for the same activity.
Both the public prosecutor and the lawyer pointed out that without these security guarantees it is not possible to effectively ensure the protection of all citizens and the fundamental right of access to justice as “the cornerstone of every constitutional and democratic state of the law.”
The President’s response
A few hours after the announcement, President Petro made his response clear in a letter to Barbosa and Cabello. The Supreme President noted that he has repeatedly insisted that his government aims to establish peace throughout the country and provide guarantees to all citizens.
“This government is committed to peace on the national territory and will provide all the guarantees so that Colombians can live in a state that protects and guarantees the free exercise of their rights,” he replied.
“This government will not allow paramilitarism to return to the country for any reason, which is why the national authorities must strongly commit to investigating these incidents,” he said.
Finally, he announced in the letter that he had given the Ministry of Defense a mandate to carry out military operations that would ensure the proper exercise of the functions of the bodies responsible for carrying out these investigations, in this case the Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor General’s Office. To clarify what happened, Petro pointed out that tables will be convened to articulate and coordinate efforts.
It is worth noting that the President had a heated confrontation with Prosecutor Barbosa over the investigation into this situation, since the President assured that it was the army itself, together with his government, that must conduct its own investigation.
“I have insisted this year that it is not the role of the executive branch to conduct judicial investigations of any kind. “The investigation is being carried out by the Attorney General’s Office and we will not allow the military criminal justice system to interfere in an investigation that has to do with the human rights of the rural population of this country,” the senior official said.
The relevant authorities are currently conducting investigations into the case, which has caused widespread outrage across the country.