A criminal court judge could decide today if former Ecuador president Rafael Correa is a fugitive from justice. Judge Daniela Camacho meets with prosecutors and Correa’s attorneys today at two to consider the former president’s refusal to appear in her court on Monday.
Correa defied Camacho’s order, instead presenting himself at an Ecuadorian consulate in Belgium, delivering an attorney’s letter stating that he was protected by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights in refusing to travel to Ecuador.
In her June ruling, Camacho had ordered Correa to appear in her court every 15 days in connection with a 2012 kidnapping of a political critic prosecutors say he ordered while he was president.
At Monday’s court session, Camacho rejected Correa’s excuse and said his appearance at the consulate did not satisfy her order. She did not say what her next move might be but a court officer said last week that she could request that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issue an international arrest warrant if Correa did not appear.
Others insist, however, that Correa has a good reason for refusing to come to Quito. According to Pichincha Bar Association president Ramiro García, Camacho must consider the hardship her order imposed on Correa, who lives in Belgium. “He [Correa] has a valid case,” he says. “It does not make sense to ask a person to travel around the world to present themselves for five minutes when he can appear at a local consulate.”
In a Monday Tweet, Correa said, “As an ex-president, my desire is to comply with the procedural demands despite the evident political and judicial persecution that I have suffered in recent months,” He also quoted his attorney’s letter: “Rafael Correa Delgado, as former constitutional president of the Republic of Ecuador, 2007-2017 excuses himself from appearing in Ecuador due to the breach of order by the national judge who ignores his rights as a foreign citizen under the Vienna Convention, among other international standards.”
According Camacho’s order, Correa is wanted as part of the investigation into the kidnapping of former national assemblyman Fernando Balda in Bogota, Colombia. Balda was a former ally of Correa who joined the political opposition.