The Democratic Pole asks Uribe not to pay a reward based on the Constitution
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Bogota, March 12, 2008
ALVARO URIBE VELEZ
President of the Republic
E. S. D.
Permit me to ask you, with all the respect due your office, that in your capacity of Head of State, Supreme Administrative Authority and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic, that you give to the Minister of Defense and to the other relevant authorities clear and precise instructions that they not pay nor order the payment of reward money of any amount to the individual known as “alias Rojas” as reward for the non-combat killing of the FARC member known as Ivan Rios, in circumstances fully divulged in the media, at the request of those authorities in whose custody may be encountered the presumed confessed killer.
Article 11 of our Political Constitution establishes definitively: “The right to life is inviolable. There will be no penalty of death”. And if the State itself has renounced the penalty of death, it is logically unacceptable that it could delegate to another the right to apply it with impunity and without judicial penalty. This mandate does not admit to loose interpretations or casuistic exceptions on the part of precisely the one who ought to be its guarantor, because it is obvious that one cannot argue reasons of state against the very reason for being of the State.
Nor is the most skilled sophist able to find in the Constitution of Colombia a single word or disposition that authorizes the National Government to pay sums of money from the public Treasury to anyone as a reward for the commission of the crime of homicide even if the victim is part of a group at the margin of the law and was responsible for serious crimes.
Even more, such a payment not only lacks basic constitutionality but is also expressly prohibited by the law in as much as it has such an illicit objective and is inspired by absolute and unhealthy logic; if one imputes these to the state and considers its obligations. Our Civil Code establishes:
Article 1524, “it is understood that an act or contract is illicit if the motive that induces the act or contract is itself prohibited by the law or contrary to good customs or to the public order.”
Thus the promise to give some payment for a debt that does not exist and lacks legitimacy and to promise to give a reward for a crime or for an immoral act is, itself, an illicit act.
In a just state, all political objects and all state actions, as legitimate and justified as they may seem, have a limit that is the judicial order whose values presuppose the definitive renunciation by the government of any rationalization of its acts by “the end justifying the means”. The repudiation of this Machiavellian principle is a minimum ethic for any decent and democratic society.
CARLOS GAVIRIA DIAZ
Alternative Democratic Pole
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621