Alberto Fernández during his speech at Casa Rosada (Presidency of the Nation)

In the first announcement of a government measure since the coronavirus pandemic began, Alberto Fernández presented at the Casa Rosada the judicial reform that he will send to Congress. The President was accompanied by the majority of the officials of the Executive Power, members of the Chamber of Deputies and Senators, the judge of the Supreme Court Elena Highton de Nolasco – the only one of the highest court that was present – and the eleven members of the council of advisers appointed by the president to modify the Supreme Court, among other things.

« I seek to make the republic that everyone claims but some humiliated », affirmed Alberto Fernández at the beginning of his speech. And he ratified the criticisms of the Judiciary that he had expressed on March 1 during the opening of ordinary sessions: “There is only one organization of judges who seek to satisfy the desire of the powerful. Let’s say never again to a justice used to settle political discussions and never again to a policy that judicializes dissent to eliminate the adversary on duty.

Elena Highton de Nolasco, Supreme Court Justice (Maximiliano Luna)

He also defended the rule, which was promoted by the Minister of Justice, Marcela Losardo, and written by Gustavo Beliz, Secretary of Internal Affairs, and Vilma Ibarra, Legal and Technical Secretary: “No one can be surprised at what we are doing. The people with their vote accompanied me and I ratified it in front of Parliament. I ordered the intervention of the AFI. That body no longer has reserved funds, does not do internal intelligence and does not influence judicial processes. ”

« We propose to better organize federal Justice. We are proposing an independent Justice that develops the processes with speed and efficiency. We are building a fair Justice on which the media, factual and political powers do not influence. If we succeed, we will have strengthened this democracy that owes so many debts to Argentines. And we will also have paid off one of those debts that democracy has with society, « he said.

The President presented the judicial reform

In addition to those present at Casa Rosada, there were leaders who connected virtually. These were senator Alberto Wereltinek, dean Fernando Pérez Lazala of the University of Cuyo, deputy Felipe Álvarez, deputy Alma Liliana Sapag, dean Gonzalo Salerno of the National University of Catamarca, dean Guillermo Barrera Buteler of the National University of Córdoba, deputy Carlos Gutiérrez, dean Javier Aga of the National University of the Coast, senator José Mayans, deputy Luis Contigiani, deputy Luis Di Giacomo, senator Magdalena Solari Quintana, senator María de los Ángeles Sacnun, the member of the Council of the Magistracy María Inés Pilatti Vergara, the dean María del Carmen Ortega of the National University of Mar del Plata, the senator Oscar Parrilli, the member of the Council of the Magistracy Ricardo Recondo and the deputy Enrique Estévez.

In his speech, the head of state reviewed the key concepts of the initiative, which had already transpired in recent days.

A new federal forum

The initiative creates a new federal forum for the city of Buenos Aires. These are the courts that investigate the causes of corruption of the political and economic power and of public officials. But also organized crime such as drug trafficking cases, kidnappings, human trafficking. That jurisdiction – the Comodoro Py courts – has 12 first instance courts. The project unifies them with the 11 courts of the economic criminal jurisdiction, which is also federal and handles cases of contraband and tax and customs crimes.

With this merger, there are 23 courts, but they will become 46 because each one has two secretariats that will be judged. The goal is to liquefy the power of the historic 12 federal judges who in many cases are politically wielded.

The Federal Chamber

With the unification of the fueros the chambers of each one are also united. There are two, both in Comodoro Py and in the economic prison, so the new forum will have four rooms with three judges each. All investigations go through that court and its future is defined: from arrests, prosecutions, nullities and any claim made against the decisions of the first instance judges.

Sergio Massa

Today in those four rooms there are five vacancies. Three in economic penal and two in Comodoro Py. Added to this is a discussion that is taking place in the National Judicial Council about the judges Leopoldo Bruglia and Pablo Bertuzzi, of the Federal Chamber of Commodore Py. The ruling party objects that they were transferred there during the government of Mauricio Macri but without completing the process of appointing judges established by the National Constitution, so they must return to their previous courts. If that happens there will be two more vacancies in that Chamber.

How vacancies are filled

The project opens 23 new positions of judges that must be filled by regular magistrates. For this, a public contest must be held that lasts at least two years. Meanwhile, the judicial reform project establishes that these places be covered by surrogate judges. For that, magistrates of the investigative jurisdiction will be summoned – the ordinary criminal Justice that investigates robberies, rapes, homicides –. They must be entered on a list that will be analyzed by the National Judicial Council for approval and will be sent to the Executive Power. And from there to the Senate for final approval. They seek to comply with all the steps of appointing a judge who sets the National Constitution.

Marcela Losardo, Minister of Justice

The federal Justice of the provinces

In the country’s provinces, federal courts have what is known as multiple jurisdiction. That is that they solve criminal cases, civil cases, labor cases, everything that comes up. The judicial reform project seeks to divide the courts and create new ones. One exclusively for criminal matters – it has drug trafficking cases – and one for the rest of the cases. The titular judge will be able to choose which court he stays with.

Another merger

There will not only be a reform on federal criminal justice. The initiative also plans to unify the federal civil and commercial courts and the federal administrative litigation. These are courts that resolve trials in which the national State is involved. The project establishes 23 courts of first instance for the new jurisdiction (11 civil and commercial and 12 contentious) and eight Chamber chambers (three civil and commercial and five contentious).

The Advisory Council

The Government will also issue a decree creating a Council of Advisers made up of 11 jurists that will analyze the operation of the Nation’s Judiciary. Specifically, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the Council of the Magistracy of the Nation, the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation and the Office of the Ombudsman of the Nation, which are the heads of Justice. Also the application of the trials by juries that are established in the National Constitution more than 100 years ago and that at the federal level never came into effect. Jury trials apply in various provinces.

The most anticipated point of the Council will be its gaze on the functioning of the Supreme Court and whether it will propose that it be made up of more judges – today there are five – and whether its work should be divided into thematic rooms.

They integrate it Carlos Beraldi, attorney for Cristina Kirchner, Inés Weinberg de Roca, former candidate for the Prosecution nominated by Mauricio Macri, Andrés Gil Domínguez, constitutional lawyer, Omar Palermo, judge of the Court of Mendoza, Carlos Arslanian, former judge of the trial of the Boards Military, Enrique Bacigalupo, expert in criminal law, Gustavo Ferreyra, constitutionalist, Marisa Herrera, expert in family law, and Hilda Kogan, Claudia Sbdar and María del Carmen Battaini, judges of the courts of Buenos Aires, Tucumán and Tierra del Fuego, respectively.

The coordinator of this council will be Fabian Musso, who worked in Esteban Righi’s studio. Tomorrow the DNU that the creation provides will come out.

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