Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Wednesday a “trial of responsibility” against high court magistrates who issued light sentences for a former defense minister and eight military officials accused of delivering U.S. missiles in 2005, an action he considers a “treason to the motherland.”
As such, the Ministry of Defense will soon start a trial against a number of Supreme Court justices (TSJ) and former president Carlos Mesa, who was found not guilty last month, explained the president.
On August 30, Gonzalo Mendez, the country’s former defense minister, Marco Antonio Justiniano, an ex-commander of the Armed Forces, Marcelo Antezana, a former army chief, and ex-deputy Gonzalo Rocabado, were sentenced to just three years in prison.
They were involved in the 2005 incident, where, as Bolivian military personnel, they had allowed representatives of the U.S. embassy to enter national facilities in order to deactivate 37 Chinese missiles that were owned by the Bolivian state.
“What they did was very serious,” Morales pressed.
The President said that the crime from 2005 should be punished with at least 30 years in prison, as requested by the Prosecutor’s Office, because it was a “treason to the country.”
Morales insisted that the weapons were delivered to the United States to avoid being under Morales’ administration, since at that time he was expected to win the elections in December of that year.
He also accused the judges of prevaricate — the act of concealing a crime — which is punishable in the country with five to 10 years in prison.
The Ministry of Defense, Morales explained, and other state institutions will carry out the trial to the highest judges of the Bolivian justice system.