President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner today responded to recent criticism over the justice system, defending the role of judges and rejecting the death penalty. Capital punishment was abolished completely in Argentina in 2008, when legislation allowing it as a penalty for war crimes was overturned.
Carmen María Argibay, a minister of the Supreme Court, has complained about delays in bringing criminals to justice. Her focus is particularly on those currently awaiting trial for crimes against humanity committed during the last dictatorship, when as many as 30,000 people ‘disappeared’, clandestinely killed and disposed of because of their open objection to the military regime. Argibay called for the appointment of more judges to officiate, not only in these high-profile cases, but in the justice system in general.
In response, the president declared that “only judges can judge and imprison” and said that it was incorrect to link the issue of appointing judges with that of national insecurity. “No cases have been halted because of the lack of an appointed judge,” she claimed.
The president went on to call for “a more efficient justice system, with fewer delays and errors made”. She declared her belief that “the death penalty solves nothing” and that there is no conflict between “liberal” and “hard” justice. “There is simply justice or no justice,” she affirmed.