The failure of the accusatory system!

The failure of the accusatory system!
The failure of the accusatory system!

Opinion column by Miguel Angel Pedraza

The issue has once again become the focus of debate this week in the country’s legal circles, now due to the warnings expressed by the presiding judge of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, Diego Eugenio Corredor, who in a forum described the prevailing impunity in Colombia as “scandalous.”

An impunity rate that reaches more than 90%, according to the indicators of the Transparency Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic. Alarming, no doubt, but it is a truth repeated a thousand times, since for several years now people have been denouncing the crisis of the penal system, the congestion in the Attorney General’s Office, the lack of investigators, the workload in the courts, and also, the punitive populism prevailing from the Congress of the Republic.

Former prosecutor Alfonso Gómez Méndez described the accusatory criminal justice system as an “unburied corpse” a while ago, and this week he repeated it in his column in the newspaper El Tiempo. An “unburied corpse” for which no one is responsible, a system that has collapsed, that has failed, with no solution in sight for now.

The system is legally disfigured, the result of a large number of reforms to the original text of the Code of Criminal Procedure, many of them to reduce or eliminate punitive reductions, increase the prohibitions on granting benefits, toughen penalties and a long dossier of modifications that ended up complicating the application of the law itself. And if we add to that a changing and hesitant jurisprudence, which says one thing today but another tomorrow, everything seems chaotic in the administration of criminal justice in our country.

The language of the accusatory system seems even pompous, there was talk of a system of adversaries endowed with guarantees, but in practice everything turned out to be different, the system is arbitrary, formalistic, little functional, capricious so that each person interprets the rules in his own way, to the detriment of procedural guarantees and to the detriment of the mandate of “prompt and complete justice.”

The congestion suffocates the Prosecutor’s Office, and that is why a preliminary investigation in Colombia can easily last 5 years or more, in clear defiance of the legal situation of the citizen under investigation or the fair claim of the rights of the victims.

The central government has announced a reform of criminal justice, yet another one, with the help of experts and wise men. But they should start by asking themselves if this is the true system that serves our country. They say that what fails must be changed, isn’t that true?

ASIDE: Santander native Lucía Paola Bautista is the best South American squash player, champion in singles and doubles this week in Santiago de Chile. Applause!

This article reflects the opinion of the columnist. Vanguardia is not responsible for the views expressed therein.

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