August 31, 2014
Ironically enough, the media crescendo in recent weeks against the impeachment of prosecutor José María Campagnoli seems to have done far less to derail the proceedings against the styled anti-corruption crusader than one juror’s sick resignation — typical of life’s little mishaps, one might think, but María Cristina Martínez Córdoba’s stress may not be accidental or the minor detail it appears. On the contrary, her request for leave that led to her resignation yesterday seems to have been prompted by Twitter bullying and threats to reveal “obscure details” of her past while the same journalist who called for the harassment of the children of the Appeals Court judges suspected of seeking to remove Judge Ariel Lijo from the investigation into Vice-President Amadou Boudou (which never happened) also disqualified her authority in a typical piece of the journalism of this era. Now that she has backed away from the impeachment, the insinuations about her past have vanished to be replaced by allegations that she is the victim of government pressures in order to bounce Campagnoli.
Pressures and even threats are constant companions of trial proceedings in any country of the world and members of the judiciary anywhere just have to learn to take it on the chin because there can be no justice if its course can be altered by undue influence (least of all against organized crime). As Supreme Court Justice Elena Highton de Nolasco told this newspaper, somebody always whines in a trial, usually the loser. Sick leave can be necessary in exceptional circumstances but it should not be regarded as normal procedure or easily accepted — otherwise justice can be effortlessly vetoed.
Nor does justice survive if it is dismissed as a mistrial or hailed as the most impartial purity, depending on who is in the dock — a judicial system must offer universal justice accepted by everybody as such or it becomes a free-for-all. In Campagnoli’s case, any number of politicians and media condemn the legal proceedings against him as a judicial conspiracy while acclaiming Boudou’s indictment. This newspaper has already stated that if the judicial system has found enough grounds to try the vice-president, while Boudou has the right to appeal Lijo’s decisions, that is good enough for us and should be for everybody. But the same applies to Campagnoli — we are not asking in advance for a verdict of innocent or guilty but simply that the legal proceedings against him be allowed to go ahead.