Sunday, April 11, 2021

Bolivia To Take OAS Chief To Court Over Meddling With Internal Affairs – Justice Minister

Bolivia says it will file a lawsuit against the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro, for meddling in the country’s internal affairs thereby orchestrating the 2019 political crisis, Justice Minister Ivan Lima told Sputnik.

After conducting an audit of the 2019 Bolivian presidential elections, the OAS released a report claiming “clear manipulation” and significant irregularities in the number of votes that led to the victory of incumbent president Evo Morales. As a result, Morales resigned from his post and left the country amid growing protests, calls for a new round of elections and increasing pressure from the military.

“As the government, we are firmly convinced that he [Almagro] should be brought to justice and held accountable. We hope that at some point in the future he will lose his immunity … We are analyzing all possibles steps and measures … We will put this issue on the agenda of the general assembly [of the OAS], the permanent council [of the OAS] and other places where people are willing to listen to us. Almagro contributed to the coup in our country,” the minister stressed.

According to Lima, Almagro could not present any evidence of the alleged falsifications.

“Almagro’s report set our country on fire, destroyed democracy. It will not go unpunished. The position of the government is to bring Almagro to justice in international courts,” he stated.

Lima also criticized the position of the OAS that condemned the arrest of Bolivia’s ex-interim president Jeanine Anez, saying that Almagro does not recognize the country’s sovereignty and attacks its democratic processes.

Lima told Sputnik that as an interim president after the ousting of Morales, Anez signed the decree exempting the military from responsibility during the crackdown on protests in 2019, which resulted in the death of over 20 people in Bolivian cities of Senkata and Sakaba.

“We want her to explain why she signed the decree and why she engaged the military and the police in suppression [of protests] where people died. She needs to stand trial,” the minister noted.

On Monday, Anez was transferred to jail for a 4-month detention awaiting trial on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy related to what investigators consider a coup that led to the resignation of Morales.

In response, human rights groups and the OAS condemned the arrest as political persecution and called for a reform of Bolivia’s judicial system, creation of an international commission under the UN and the OAS to look into corruption in the Bolivian government and opening investigations into potential crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.

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