Colombian court places President Ivan Duque under house arrest after failing to protect national park

Citing the Andean country’s leader’s failure to comply with an earlier ruling asking him to protect a national park, a Colombian court ordered President Ivan Duque to be fined and placed under house arrest for five days.

After a single four-year term limited by the Constitution, Duque leaves office with a record number of disapprovals after a year marked by social unrest and a violent police crackdown that drew international condemnation.

According to the country’s constitution, the Colombian president can only be charged and investigated by a special legislative commission, political experts say there is no chance that the court order will be carried out.

In 2020, the Supreme Court of Colombia had asked Duque to enact measures to protect Los Nevados National Park, including the creation of a special police or military unit to help carry out conservation work in the park.

Explaining the decision, the Ibague Superior Court said in a statement that it also fined the president approximately $4,000.

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Insisting that his government protected Colombia’s natural parks and complied with the court order to conserve Los Nevados National Park, Duque said: “We saw an inexplicable initial decision.”

Calling the court’s decision unconstitutional and insisting that the Supreme Court’s order had already been enforced, Duque said evidence showing his compliance with the Supreme Court’s order had been sent to the court. Ibague but had been ignored.

Duque’s successor faces a host of challenges, not the least of which is a new round of killings and kidnappings as violence escalates despite a 2016 peace deal that disarmed the Colombian Forces – People’s Army (FARC) and officially ended the civil war.

(With agency contributions)

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Post expires at 5:37pm on Wednesday June 15th, 2022