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September 21, 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014

The habits of a justice far from blind

Federal Judge Ariel Lijo takes part in a ceremony at the central courthouse last week.
By Mempo Giardinelli
For the Herald
Judge Lijo, in charge of grilling the vice-president, authorizes full legal status to a Nazy party

In the midst of the rowdy media condemnation to which Vice-President Amado Boudou is exposed, there are some things which should not be left aside. And the first is that, over and above anything for which he might be responsible, there is an obvious political intention of taking him out of the line of constitutional succession and annihilating any political future he might have.

The other is to “punish” him ferociously because he was the architect of the elimination of the AFJP system of private pension funds, which was great business for a few while leaving millions of citizens stripped of the egalitarian and inclusive pension system this country has today.

And the third is to smear the government, which after 11 years has plenty of weak flanks — especially where corruption is concerned. Because aside from a few convictions (the José Pedrazas and María Julia Alsogarays) or those currently undergoing trial like Ricardo Jaime, there are no striking examples in Argentina of corruption being punished. And although not recognized in the circles of power, it is obvious that Kirchnerism has never shown the slightest intention of fighting it — perhaps heeding the generalized conviction of Argentina’s political leaders that corruption, while the political vice most deserving repudiation, is never punished.

Corruption has thus become democracy’s murkiest trademark — not as a creation of the current government but due to that disgraceful, infamous political tradition which became generalized with the military dictatorship and especially under Menemism.

In that context of media terrorism to which this nation is submitted (although many deny it), they have a field day with cases like Boudou’s — even if his recent defence was dignified and considerably more enlightening than many people had been expecting. But he does not stand a chance against journalists expert in obscuring and lying (more interested in being showmen than informing) who are the ones who brainwash the speeches of almost the entire opposition leadership — distinguished only for being hypocritical chameleons lacking any solid principles.

As it is, so-called justice continues being a welter of contradictions, cheap tricks, abuses, injunctions and wretched decisions. Although doubtless with honourable exceptions, it is showing itself to be incapable of self-correction and recuperation as should be expected from a country which has changed so much — and for the better — along the road of democratic construction.

The surnames of judges who have been questioned at one time or another are too many to list. To mention just a few: Trovato, Belluscio, Galeano, Miret, Brusa, Servini de Cubría, Sabattini and Oyarbide. And these days more than one citizen would add a couple of other names currently riding the crest of the wave of media power — among them Judge Ariel Lijo, precisely in charge of the Ciccone case and on the brink of placing the vice-president on trial with frenzied media support.

Lijo is the same magistrate who authorized full legal status for the Nazi party Bandera Vecinal, headed by that veteran Hitler fan Alejandro Biondini, who called the entire DAIA Jewish association umbrella leadership “mendacious” and “anti-democratic” because it questioned that status.

And as if that were not enough, he is also the magistrate who, while grilling Boudou, acquitted in complete silence the former interior minister Carlos Corach, the right-hand man of the corrupt Menem presidency of the 1990s. He considered him innocent of diverting the investigation of the AMIA Jewish community centre terrorist attack via the payment of 400,000 dollars to the defendant Carlos Te-lleldín — an acquittal which also benefited former Buenos Aires provincial police chief Antonio Ca-labró and a handful of policemen, as well as some secretaries of the unbenched federal judge Juan José Galeano.

Relatives of the victims of that atrocity grouped in Memoria Activa headed by Adriana Reisfeld and Diana Malamud maintained that Corach played a key role in setting up that red herring, rejecting in the harshest terms judge Lijo’s ruling. And they underlined the “coincidence” that the magistrate resolved this case “last Monday no less, very probably so that it might be overshadowed by information from other cases” — i.e. his verbose grilling of Boudou.

News of these favours to the former Menem minister and the Nazi leader were only published by the Infonews website and hardly reproduced in other media. Perhaps that is because those other media were too busy converting the suspended prosecutor José María Campagnoli (whom the City Legislature has just named as an “illustrious citizen and personality of the judicial sphere”) into a hero of our times despite the record denunciations against him for abuse of power, malfeasance, illegal procedure and irregularities in some investigations.

Or so has written the well-known journalist Raúl Kollman, in a recent investigation for Página/12 newspaper, pointing out that Campagnoli is the prosecutor with the most denunciations against him (over 20), mostly coming from his own colleagues: judges, prosecutors and lawyers. Moreover, his ex-employees have charged that Campagnoli’s aides are almost all “male, nationalistic, ultra-Catholic, preferably rugby players and/or militants of PRO centre-right party.”

When a little more than a year ago the national Congress passed six laws to reform justice and were immediately blocked by lobbies of lawyers and private interests, what they were really looking for was that these things start to change. Whether through government clumsiness or the skill of its opponents, those laws (which doubtless could be improved) are today a dead letter, a crime for which the entire nation is paying.

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