Guillermo Martín Lipera is a private attorney. Far from taking refuge in his law firm, his passion is to build with others, push collective projects, from a Bar Association of the City of Buenos Aires to which he was taking his “aristocratic” position (where he was president), to approach IDEA (of which he was vice president) to the most critical sectors of the business world to facilitate mutual understanding. A native of Chivilcoy, father of 9 children, Lipera is not afraid of the effort that can be carried out by carrying out an audit of the Federal Justice, a matter that he addressed with dedication and effort. He has been concerned for months about restoring the Council of the Magistracy to its original balance, seeking to depoliticize the area where the judges must be selected and, in any case, removed. That was when the Government announced that a new judicial reform was coming, which will probably end with a new interference with the Supreme Court of Justice. Here the dialogue he had with Infobae.
– What is more important to ensure the independence of the justice, the Supreme Court or the Council of the Magistracy?
– The independent judiciary is important in all instances. The impact for ordinary people is not so much in the Court, because very few issues get there. But it is very important to have an independent court.
– And what is needed for the Court to be independent?
– In principle, the fewer times the number of the members of the Court is touched, the better. Experience indicates that each time the Executive Branch reached out to increase integration, it ended up damaging the independence of the Court and weakening its prestige. Two examples. One, that of (Arturo) Frondizi, who increased the number from 5 to 7 in 1960. The most recent was that of (Carlos) Menem in 1990, which went from 5 to 9. The effects of this latest expansion are still being paid for. Today, that is why we must avoid touching the number of the members.
– And what is the ideal number for you?
– It is debatable. They can be 5, 7 or 9. I think that it works better with fewer members, because there is less bureaucracy and consensus is easier when there are fewer. But the important thing is not the quantity, but the quality. I think the good example is that of the Court appointed by Raúl Alfonsín, who with a Peronist majority had the support to choose the best Supreme Court that was in democracy, the most balanced and democratic. Let’s even remember that he came to offer the presidency of the Court to Italo Luder, who had lost the presidential elections with him. We never had a court like that. Therefore, what I would avoid is to reconnect the Court. It is better to leave it with five and if at any time Congress understands that the Court is not working as it should, it always has the alternative of impeachment. It cannot be that the Court is within range of ad hoc commissions that finally end up colonizing its operation. What independence can you have as a member of the Court if you are within range of a commission?
– Being a senator, in 2006, Cristina Kirchner presented a project to reduce the number of the Menemist Court. Do you want to expand it now?
– I do not know, I do not know that he intends to expand it now. There are no statements from the Vice President in this regard. What I can say is that when she founded that project in the Senate, she surprised everyone, nobody imagined that she was going to come out with something so good, because she did not alter the composition of the moment and it was reduced as they occurred. the vacancies. Today what is in force is that law, 26,183.
– At that time, the radical opposition accompanied. What should the opposition do now?
– As far as is known, it is a non-binding commission. It does not force anyone. Based on that, the Executive Branch will see what it does with the recommendations they send it. The end of the discussion is still the spring of Congress, so the opposition will have to debate, but it will be difficult to accept that the Court be touched. In Argentina, the Judicial Power moves pendularly, according to the climate of the time, which was always the case. To finish with that, what you have to do is leave the Court alone, otherwise you will always be within range of the current President.
– And how does the Council of the Magistracy enter the current discussion?
– It’s key. In 1994, the Judicial Council was created to limit the political power in the selection and removal processes of judges. What was sought is to put limits on the influence of political parties, seeking a balance between different sectors, as stipulated in the special law that Congress voted in 1994. Thus, the representatives of the bodies elected by the popular vote, Congress and the executive branch have 20%, the representatives of the judges, another 20%, the representatives of the lawyers, another 20%, and the representatives of the academy, the other 20%. Thus, there was a balance. But in 2006 those percentages were modified with the majority that the then government had in Congress, all the organizations of lawyers made demands against it, and only in 2015 a House ruled in our favor, saying that it was unconstitutional. The government of Cristina Kirchner filed an extraordinary appeal and everything suggested that the government of Mauricio Macri would annul this imbalance in the Council of the Magistracy. Meanwhile, the Court did not speak about it. I think it would be a very good message to pronounce on the unconstitutionality of this reform to the law of the Council of the Magistracy, all the associations of lawyers and judges and also the academy, we would come out to support that decision. I think it is time, there is no reason not to.
Comparative of the integration of the Council of the Magistracy in its original law of 1994 and then with its modification in 2006.
– Here we have the tables that you prepared showing the lost and necessary balance.
– It is very important to take into account that balance, because in this way, the political power lacks veto power by itself, it does not reach the two thirds it needs (66%) to stop the opening of political trials, for example. The Canicoba Corral case is a clear example.
– So, do you agree or not with the judicial reform that the Government is promoting?
– We do not have the text yet, but I definitely want independent and effective judges. Both in the head, for extraordinary matters, as well as in all the courts that depend on the Council of the Magistracy. That is why we must not forget that the Judiciary is the weakest, it does not handle weapons or money, you have to shield it, the best way is to not be handling it, do not change its integration when you want, you have to worship it, even I would say overact the respect to the judge. The temptation of politicians from all parties to influence justice must be stopped. So if the judicial reform has consensus in Congress I have no problems. One cannot be against liquefying the power of the federal courts in criminal and administrative litigation. It is something that is fine, but that must emerge from a consensus of officialism and opposition, as befits the rules of democracy. So it is not that I am opposed. My position on this is non-partisan, it is a matter of logic only.
– Do you have an opinion on the possibility that attorney Carlos Beraldi, defense attorney for the Vice President, is part of the future advisory commission?
– I don’t like to talk about names, but about principles. And you can’t technically stigmatize a lawyer for the clients you have. Another thing is that politically it is counterproductive to designate it or not and today it seems that it is.
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