Press Release 077/2013

STATEMENT IN DEFENSE OF JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE OF

THE ARGENTINE JUDICIARY

The Latin American Federation of Magistrates (FLAM) in their 62nd General Assembly gathering, with the attendance of UIM President (International Union of Judges), Dr. Gerhard Reissner, Special Reporter of the Human Rights Committee of United Nations, Dr. Gabriela Knaul and the President of the Latin American Group of the UIM (International Union of Judges), Dr. Maria Cristina Crespo; have issued the following statement signed by the representatives of the of the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

The Latin American Federation of Magistrates, an association composed by judges from 18 countries, and recognized by the Organization of American States; gathered for their ordinary General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, on the seventh of May of 2013, and ratified its decision to reject attempting acts against the independence of the judicial system and judges in their individual or collective level, and reiterates its commitment to ensure permanent support to the consolidation of the independence of judicial authorities and judges, denouncing any action or decision, internal or external, that can influence political, economic, social or functionality of the independence of the judiciary as a State power.

In this context, and noted on the eventual approval of bills presented by the Executive of the Republic of Argentina, aimed at the so-called "democratization of Justice" and in line with the statement made on April 18, 2013, we affirm that such changes, if ratified, are a serious danger to the existence of the Republican system, mainly harming the citizens of that country since the presented bills substantially alter the operation of the Justice System and in no way expands citizens’ rights, on the contrary, restricting the independence of the judiciary to ultimately replace the Supreme Court of Justice as one of the powers of the State by stripping it of its functions, which constitutionally, are inherent to the proper performance of the task that corresponds to Justice System by the Constitution. It politicizes the Magistrate Council, agency in charge of the selection of judges and of  their performance, arranging the popular election of judges and lawyers, which will integrate the mentioned Council of the Magistrate, subjecting them to mandatory and unacceptable inclusion on partisan ballots, which contradicts the Constitution.

Equally serious are the strong restriction which could be enacted against the State, which will undoubtedly affect the ability of judges to protect individual and social human rights.

For all the above, the Latin American Federation of Magistrates, declares and affirms:

First: The decision of the powers of Government to carry out these projects with urgency and without the unnecessary treatment prevents the need of a calm and careful analysis and a proper social control of these initiatives.

Second: The Argentine Executive’s  proposals affect without a doubt the Republican Democratic system of Government, the balance and the division of powers of the Argentine Republic, dragging with it and destroying basic principles of the independence of the judiciary while looking to politicize the judicial governing body, which if realized, would leave the judges at the mercy of any majorities at the polls, irreversibly affecting the impartiality and independence of the Argentine judiciary; whose values and principles are not designed to defend non-existent judicial privileges: they are at the service of the citizens in the firm protection of their fundamental rights.

Therefore, The Latin American Federation of Magistrates rejects all attacks against the independence of the Argentine Judicial System and urges the authorities of that Country, to defend the independence of the judges, as the power of a democratic rule of law that respects the separation of powers, ensuring the full effectiveness and guarantees of the Republic’s Constitution.

Santiago of Chile, May 07 2013.

Mirinda Vicenty Nazario (Chairperson) and Board of Directors: M. Cristina Crespo Haro (Uruguay), Wilfredo Sagastume Henríquez (El Salvador), Gustavo Santander Dans (Paraguay), Leopoldo Llanos Sagristá (Chile), Teodoro Bonilla Euceda (Honduras), Alejandro López Mc Adam (Costa Rica), Delio Vera Navarro (Paraguay), Guinther Spode (Brazil), Mario Morales Rosario(Puerto Rico) Presidents of the Associations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.