Attacks on Justice 2005: Argentina

Latin America
Issue: Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Document Type: Publication
Date: 2008

In Argentina, the Constitution grants the President broad powers with regard to the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of Justice and federal courts.

For many years, the judiciary has been regarded as subordinate to the executive. At provincial level, complaints of executive interference in the judiciary are also frequent. Recent judicial reforms adopted mainly during 2003 as a result of two presidential decrees, and new legislation adopted in some provinces in response to a general lack of confidence in the justice system, have ensured that there is greater consultation and outside scrutiny with regard to appointments to the Supreme Court and the prosecution service.

Some provinces have adopted similar reforms ensuring that there is a degree of scrutiny in the appointment of judges. Also during 2003, impeachment proceedings initiated by Congress resulted in the removal or resignation of four Supreme Court justices who were generally perceived as being subordinate to the government of former President Carlos Menem (1989-1999).

During 2004, concern about increasing crime rates and lack of security has become one of the most debated judicial reform issues. On 14 June 2005, the notorious amnesty laws (the Full Stop and Due Obedience Laws) were declared unconstitutional and null and void by the Supreme Court of Argentina. This ruling should pave the way for the prosecution of perpetrators of serious human rights violations during the military dictatorship (1976-1983).

Argentina-Attacks on Justice 2005-Publications-2008 (full text, PDF)

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