Bolivia to Try Ex President
March 27, 2009 - Prensa Latina

La Paz, Mar 26 (Prensa Latina) Ex Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada is scheduled be tried in May on charges of assassination and genocide, the Supreme Court of Justice announced on Thursday in this capital.

Sanchez de Lozada (1993-1997/2002-2003) is accused of being the main person responsible for a massacre in October, 2003, when the police repressed a demonstration in defense of natural gas.

The ex president fled in October, 2003, to the United States, where he remains in exile, after resigning due to a violently broken up riot that caused 68 deaths and more than 400 people wounded.

The Bolivian government has denounced that Washington is blocking the ex president from appearing in court to answer for those crimes against humanity.

The Court set May 18 as the date to begin the public hearings, lawyer Hugo Suarez said.

President of that judicial authority Eddy Fernandez has been questioned by the Executive and several social organizations, for delaying justice.

Fernandez is also accused by parliament members of the governing Movement Towards Socialism, who say he complied in delaying processes with great national impact.

In this case there are also legal mechanisms to try for endangering the economy ex Health Minister Tonchi Marinkovic and La Paz ex Prefect Luis Alberto "Chito" Valle.

According to the new Bolivian Constitution, only the president and vice president enjoy constitutional privilege and can be tried by the Supreme Court of Justice, while other officials, as ministers, prefects and judges, will be brought before ordinary justice.