December 10, 2013
Criminal court judges to put forth ideas within 90 daysWednesday, September 25, 2013
Supreme Court sets up commissions to speed up trials
The Supreme Court yesterday announced the establishment of three committees through which judges will propose ideas for the acceleration of criminal trials within 90 days.
In a document signed by the seven justices, the country’s highest court took a proactive approach in addressing the long-complained issue of a “slow judiciary,” which follows its recent rulings against the main elements of the Kirchnerite administration’s bids to reform the sector.
“It is essential for the system to facilitate the conclusion of cases within a reasonable time frame, without losing sight of the strength of decisions made in each case,” the text read.
Judges of all levels of the criminal courts will join forces under three commissions to elaborate proposals according to five guidelines.
These guidelines include “internal reforms to the judicial branch regarding criminal procedure,” the “elaboration of performance manuals for administrative and procedural management,” access to “information for the public, transparency, the role of victims and NGOs,” “legislative procedural reforms” and “improvements to the prisoner-release system and conditions of the arrested.”
The Fernández de Kirchner administration argues that the new federal Administrative, Labour, Social Security and Civil and Commercial cassation courts would lessen the burden for the highest legal authority in the country, speeding up trials. But the opposition argued the contrary, considering that yet another level would actually slow trials down.
The Court had already definitively suspended democratic election of Magistrates councillors — the most controversial law of the judicial reforms package that was emblematic in Kirchnerism discourse of democratizing the judiciary.
In fact, yesterday’s ruling mentions the “appointment of judges,” for which the Magistrates Council is responsible, as one of the “multiple factors” between which “coordination is needed to achieve the objective,” also listing “the design of a judicial map, the constant improvement of computer systems, the training of employees and the reform criminal procedural reforms” as its main goals.
“Thus far, despite the efforts to do so, the legitimate demand (of speeding up the legal system) has not been answered, and therefore it is appropriate for the Judiciary to take the initiative of preparing a working group and summon the other branches of government to discuss and implement it,” the text published yesterday added.