Opposition supports chief justice’s words
The opposition was highly supportive yesterday of the message sent by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti calling for the courts to remain independent from political pressures.
While most of the ruling Victory Front (FpV) chose to remain silent, the government spoke through Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández, who harshly criticized Lorenzetti, saying he was wrong to affirm the investigation into the 1992 bombing had been closed.
“Clear instructions were given to move forward with the investigation and keep the arrest warrants valid” that are mentioned in the case, Fernández told news channel C5N.
Lorenzetti “has been misadvised,” the Cabinet chief said. “The case is not closed, for that to happen you need at least one person tried and convicted.”
Despite their differences with each other, voices from the Renewal Front (FR), PRO and the Radical Party (UCR) all expressed support for Lorenzetti’s address, calling it an appropriate response to what they considered to be encroachment on the courts from the Executive Branch.
Taking a predictably completely different line was lawmaker Jorge Rivas, a member of the Socialist Confederation grouping within the Victory Front (FpV), who called the Chief Justice’s comments “hypocritical” while quoting novelist Eduardo Galeano to say that the “Judiciary is like a serpent, it only bites those who are bare-footed.” Rivas also pointed out that while Lorenzetti noted the need for reform yesterday, the legal branch was responsible for quashing the “democratization” of the courts back in 2013.
Fernández spoke last night in a markedly different tone from what he had said earlier in the day, when the Cabinet chief downplayed the possibility of a strong response from Lorenzetti following comments made by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during her State of the Nation address to Congress on Sunday. During that speech she questioned the lack of progress into the investigation into those responsible for the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, for which the Supreme Court has responsibility.
“He’ll know what to say, he is responsible for the highest court and is responsible for one of the Republic’s branches” Fernández said. “The president does not specifically hold Lorenzetti responsible. It’s a task that should have been concluded earlier, so that there could have been people sanctioned and eventually detained.”
Lorenzetti’s address included comments indicating that the Supreme Court had indeed already ruled on the matter.
Judge María Laura Garrigós de Rébori, head of the City Criminal Cassation Court and head of Legitimate Justice (JL), called Lorenzetti’s tone “pretty conciliatory.”
Lawmaker Patricia Bullrich of the PRO said that Lorenzetti “gave a great speech” in which “he established a limit to the president’s idea of an unlimited and hegemonic power.”
Mario Negri, head of the UCR caucus in the Lower House, said “it is very important that the Chief Justice calls upon the judges to resist pressure, that he insists on their duty to be impartial and that he urges judges not to transform that Legal Branch into a “showbusiness branch’.”
Herald staff with DyN
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