In wake of the outrage surrounding the Marita Verón ruling and other high profile court cases, many are calling for an overhaul of the court system. Recently proposed judicial reforms in Argentina seek to modify the way in which members of the Magistrates’ Council are selected. The changes would see the Council elected democratically, by popular vote. They would also create three new courts of appeal below the supreme court and get rid of injunctions against the state. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and the Head of the Supreme Court have already voiced their support of the changes. We hit the streets to ask locals what they think about democratising the judicial system.
Otto Santos, Restaurant Host, 41, Congreso
It is always better when the public elects officials, as long as the public is well informed and open minded. People who understand the law well have to make the decisions, so people have to make sure they know what is going on if they vote. There is corruption everywhere, but it would be less corrupt if the judges were elected by the people. Who elects the president in democracies? The people. Why can’t it be that way with the judges?
Facundo Amandola, Designer, 28, Retiro
(Democratising the courts) won’t change anything; it can’t change anything. There is so much corruption now, and although you can move the pieces around, the game is still the same. The same people are in charge no matter who votes because the system is corrupt.
Matias Perez, Industrial Worker, 22, Cordoba
We should have the right to elect whom we want to. Right now, there is a lot of corruption and something has to change. Justice is not very just here; punishment is very flexible depending on who you are. The people who harm others have a lot of rights. As people of this country, we should able to ensure that there is less corruption.
Nicolas Gonzalez, Musician, 28, Monserrat
I don’t know why they would change the courts to be elected democratically. It would not change things for the better; I think it will just create more problems. The same majority that elects the president would elect the judges; it will still be corrupt, just legal corruption.
Marisa Sanchez, Retired Teacher, 53, Campana
Judges in this city have acquired an enormous amount of independence and power, and I think it is best to return some power to the people. I have had to bring a case to court before and in the end, I felt I was set up. The lawyers and judges are fixed here. Many of the judges here are drunks and womanizers, and there are very few judges that I would recommend. There is maybe one good judge for every ten, and the corruption goes all the way to the top. I think democratic elections would help fix this, although there is a lot of work to be done.