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Viewing cable 08BOGOTA1517, URIBE-SUPREME COURT TENSIONS RISE OVER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08BOGOTA1517 2008-04-23 21:09 2011-02-27 13:01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.elespectador.com/wikileaks
VZCZCXYZ0012
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #1517/01 1142103
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 232103Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2492
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8157
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0302
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6134
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1573
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6786
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 001517 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2018 
TAGS: KJUS PHUM PREF PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: URIBE-SUPREME COURT TENSIONS RISE OVER 
PARA-POLITICAL INVESTIGATIONS 

Classified By: Political Counselor John Creamer 
Reason 1.4 (b and d) 

SUMMARY 
------- 
1. (C)  Preliminary investigations by the Supreme Court of 
Senate President Nancy Patricia Gutierrez and U Party 
President Senator Carlos Garcia for alleged paramilitary ties 
led President Uribe to call on April 17 for "objectivity" in 
the Court.  Uribe voiced "total support" for the judiciary, 
but urged the Supreme Court not to "open the door to 
institutional instability" through investigations based on 
weakevidence.  Casa de Narino Legal Advisor Edmundo del 
Castillo and opposition Liberal Party chief Cesar Gaviria
told us some members of the Court harbor animosity toward the 
President and that may be influencing their decisions.  The 
Prosecutor General (Fiscalia) detained Uribe cousin and 
former Senator Mario Uribe on April 23--a move expected to 
heighten tensions between the executive and the judiciary. 
End Summary 

SENATE LEADERS INVESTIGATED 
--------------------------- 
2. (U)  The Supreme Court has begun preliminary 
investigations of Senate President Nancy Patricia Gutierrez 
and U Party President Carlos Garcia for alleged paramilitary 
ties.  The Fiscalia also arrested former Senator Mario Uribe 
(President Uribe's distant cousin and long-time political 
ally) on April 23 for reported para links.  Mario Uribe 
unsuccessfully sought political asylum in the Costa Rican 
Embassy prior to his detention.  Gutierrez and Garcia voiced 
confidence that the investigations against them would be 
dropped with no charges filed.  Gutierrez said the Court 
appeared to be initiating investigations based on rumors or 
the testimony of single, unreliable, and politically 
motivated witnesses. 

URIBE CALLS FOR OBJECTIVITY 
--------------------------- 
3. (U)  President Uribe reiterated his "total support" for 
the judicial system on April 17, but urged the Supreme Court 
to be "objective" in its decisions.  He highlighted the 
increased resources that the GOC has provided the Court to 
carry out the para-political investigations, but called on it 
"not to open the door to institutional instability." 
Minister for Interior and Justice Carlos Holguin elaborated 
on April 20 that the GOC wanted "clarity and certainty" in 
the Court's actions, adding that "in some cases the Court had 
acted based on weak evidence."  Uribe announced after a 
meeting with GOC coalition party leaders on April 20, that 
the GOC would set up a commission to study possible political 
and judicial reform proposals, likely including ideas to 
reform systems for investigating members of Congress. 

SUPREME COURT "VENDETTA" CLOUDS JUDGMENT 
----------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Presidential Legal Advisor Castillo told us former 
Supreme Court President Cesar Julio Valencia Copete and 
Supreme Court Judge Yesid Ramirez have influenced the Court's 
judgment when dealing with GOC allies.  Valencia is the 
subject of a criminal libel complaint filed by Uribe over 
their differing accounts of a phone conversation in October, 
2007 in which Valencia alleges Uribe inappropriately raised
the case of Mario Uribe.  Castillo claimed Valencia's recent 
calling of a former paramilitary as a witness in his dispute 
with Uribe was irrelevant to the case and designed only to 
damage the president.  Then Supreme Court President Ramirez 
publicly clashed with Uribe two years ago, when he accused 
the president of siding with the Constitutional Court in its 
dispute with the Supreme Court over jurisdiction.  Uribe's 
relations with the Supreme Court have been strained since. 

5. (C) Castillo said Supreme Court Auxiliary Magistrate Ivan 
Velasquez also continued his "vendetta" against Uribe, 
offering juridical benefits to former-paramilitaries to 
testify against the president.  Uribe filed a criminal 
complaint with the Fiscalia against Velasquez, accusing him 
of illegally pressuring ex-paras to provide false testimony 
against the president.  Castillo added that jailed former 
para leader Diego Murillo's (Don Berna) lawyer recently told 
him that Velasquez had offered Berna "benefits" in exchange 

for testimony against Uribe.  Such accusations are aimed at 
undermining Uribe's credibility, Castillo said. 

6. (C) Further complicating the picture are rumors that 
ex-paramilitary leader Carlos Mario Jimenez ("Macaco") bribed
Supreme Court magistrates, including Ramirez, to elect Fiscal 
General Mario Iguaran.  GOC members of Congress have also 
considered whether an investigation is warranted to examine 
ties between some magistrates and Italian businessman Gorgio
Sale, allegedly involved in narcotrafficking and other crimes 
with ex-paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso.  Several Court 
members believe Congressmen implicated in the scandal are 
behind the allegations of Court ties to paramilitaries.  The 
Congressional Commission of Accusations is responsible for 
investigations against the magistrates.  On April 23, 
presidents of the four high courts (Supreme, Constitutional, 
Judiciary Council, and State Council) jointly announced their 
backing for the Supreme Court and its decisions in the 
para-political scandal. 

FORMER PRESIDENT GAVIRIA FEARS FURTHER TENSIONS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
7. (C) Opposition Liberal Party Chief and former-President 
Cesar Gaviria told us he is concerned over the rising 
tensions between the Supreme Court and Uribe.  Gaviria said 
the Supreme Court has done a good job overall investigating 
para-political scandal.  Still, he added that recent 
decisions on para investigations and the Macaco extradition 
reflected some Court members' "personal animosity" towards 
Uribe.Gaviria said evidence in the cases against Uribe 
confidants Gutierrez and Mario Uribe appears weak.  He 
predicted the Court's tensions with the GOC would deepen 
since Uribe believes (accurately or not) that some judges are 
out to get him and his political allies. 

BROWNFIELD