Ricardo Lorenzetti he sits in the armchair of one of the offices of the Law School of Rosario, where he moves with total naturalness, “I’m Doctor Honoris Causa here, of course I’m at home,” he maintains in a relaxed tone. That relaxation is changing when he analyzes the government’s confrontation with the Court and the project to expand it: “It is an absolutely secondary dispute, it is not a priority”, he replies forcefully. In dialogue with Clarion, Lorenzetti also referred to the criticism of Cristina Kirchner Y Albert Fernandez, he asked to “speak without shouting” about the true “independence of powers”. Regarding drug trafficking, he showed a greater concern: “There are no State policies for more than a decade.”
“The prosecution of drug trafficking” is the motto under which 122 federal judges from all over the country meet this Thursday in Rosario. The event was promoted and organized by the Association of Federal Judges (AJUFE), which managed to set a unique precedent: a message of unity from the full Judiciary. The accessions were about three hundred, almost all federal magistrates.
The meeting is attended by the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General, Edward Casal and of the main judicial officials in matters of drug crime.
Against this backdrop, Lorenzetti spoke with Clarín. With more than fifteen years in the Court, his trajectory crosses his responses when referring to criticism and attacks from the Government. And also the tragic situation that the country is experiencing in terms of drug trafficking.
What went wrong to get to this stage regarding organized crime?
In 2009, the Court issued a ruling, known as the Arriola ruling, a ruling that came out unanimously with a broader Court and with a range of diverse opinions, but we agreed on an issue that was greater than that diversity, which was the need to have state policies. More than a decade passed and those State policies were not carried out. This has a very big impact because the problem has not only not diminished but has grown and Today we have a very difficult situation throughout the country with drug trafficking.
Minister of the Court, Ricardo Lorenzetti. Photo Maxi Failla
So far this year, in Rosario alone there have been 103 homicides linked to drug trafficking.
They are the dramatic consequences of this lack of policies; society lives in fear. Citizens are prisoners it seems that criminals are free because even from prison they continue to operate. It is an institutional tragedy because It’s a festival of inefficiency which at the same time generates a reaction of social anger, of frustration. It can not go on like this. Most people think there is a bonfire of the vanities or that it is a permanent political dispute.
How do you get out of that politicized scenario?
From the Drug Trafficking Commission that I coordinate, we believe that it is time for a different model. We have to end with each government blaming the previous one, because all the parties have passed here and none have managed to solve it.
How is the change you suggest implemented?
We propose a comprehensive and permanent approach, because all the causes must be attacked at the same time. On the one hand, a policy of institutionalization of the villas, it is necessary to create places of care in the neighborhoods and permanent education, as the Court’s ruling says. And help social and religious organizations. On the other hand, the security forces must be coordinated on two levels: more visibility of the forces and a technological and criminal sophistication focused on drug circuits.
How do you combat drug trafficking and its economic resources?
That is the third advanced, the economic logic. There you must have a law of domain extinctionthe AFIP must be made to function well, so that they do not put friendly people but instead put professionals who can penetrate and analyze money laundering, the same in Customs and the Financial Information Unit (FIU), because they are important centers.
What is the role of the Judiciary, since a third of its positions are vacant?
The federal judiciary is practically empty, the charges have to be filled. We have been talking for years and the charges are not completed, there are no judges in Rosario and in much of the country. Provincial justice here is working quite well, but in federal matters there is still discussion about whether there is going to be an accusatory system (which gives prosecutors more prominence in the investigation) or a traditional system, so nothing works because There are also no prosecutors. We can’t keep arguing in the middle of the river when a flood is coming.
So there are problems in all spheres?
We must end the idea that one blames the other, end the idea of partial solutions and create an agency where everyone is. The other big problem is that the functioning of the plans and organizations is sporadic. Here something must be done that works permanently, with political and judicial authorities, the forces, customs, AFIP, FIU in each region.
How is this achieved if society witnesses a constant confrontation between politics and justice, the Council of the Magistrature has a political fight that leads us to have in Rosario and Santa Fe 36% of the charges unfilled, with lists that the Government that never sends to Congress or that the Senate does not vote?
That is why we demand state policies, we must put an end to the idea that what they are discussing are personal or sectoral spaces of power and understand that we are talking about the security of people and ending drug trafficking. Us We strongly censor all those practices that prioritize personal vanities, personal photos, the selfishness, the disputes and above all the paralysis and an inefficiency that is tragic. Here we are united and we want the other powers of the State to unite and have policies that we have asked for more than a decade.
Is the message of unity also for the Government that constantly criticizes the Judiciary?
It is for all governments. In Rosario we summoned all the political parties, because different governments of all the parties passed and none could solve the problem of drug trafficking. If we do not think that there is something superior, we do not concentrate on working on the common problems of the people of the citizens who live in fear, that fear is what is going to take the institutions ahead. It is a very serious situation.
In the midst of this tragic situation, what do you think of the Government’s plan to expand the Court?
We have to deal with the problems of the people, of the Argentine citizens, not with these disputes that are absolutely secondary, not because they are not important, but because it is not a priority. We have to give people peace of mind not only in terms of drug trafficking, we have to provide tranquility and legal certainty in matters of division of powers, in terms of the functioning of the economy and legal security for workers, for the vulnerable.
Why is this discussion taking place?
–yesIf we change institutions every time we don’t like failures, the message is very bad.
Does expanding the Court have to do with decisions of the highest court that this government does not like?
This always happened, I am fifteen years ago. For example, when we issued the rulings on the “democratization of justice”, the criticism was much stronger than now, because it was a stronger government.
Isn’t this a strong government?
What I’m saying is that I’m not too worried about criticism. In the last fifteen years, the Court had very strong positions, very strong attacks, and we have never given in and we will not give in now. It has always happened. What they have to be clear about is that no matter how much they shout, make demonstrations – that this is fine because everyone can speak, demonstrate – the Court is not going to change its position because of that. Otherwise, we would put the Constitution at risk and above all what Argentines expect from a Supreme Court.
President Fernández spoke of Brazil, which was lucky to have a “dignified Court”, Cristina Kirchner constantly criticizes the Court…
What must be made clear is that no matter what they say, we have had a line of principles and values for more than fifteen years that is not going to change. What matters here is what Argentines expect and I tell them: rest assured, the Court is not going to change any of its key jurisprudence in the interpretation of the Constitution. After they criticize. Well, governments are also criticized. Courts in general are attacked.
The Minister of the Court Ricardo Lorenzetti. Photo Maxi Failla.
Why do you think politics repeatedly criticizes the Court?
Why do you have to have a debate? whether or not we want the independence of the judiciarybecause deep down it is a question of what my mother used to say is missing: civic instruction. Do we want the separation of powers or not? Because ultimately what there is is a political dispute over the judiciary, Let’s see who has more friendly judges, and that is not what is meant by separation of powers. There are examples from various sides. We have to talk about it, not fight, not shout or denounce, but calmly talk about how we strengthen an independent judiciary.
There is constant criticism of the Court regarding the lack of deadlines to resolve important issues, as occurred with the Judicial Council. Don’t they owe a self-criticism?
Well, we may have to explain more how the Court works. We receive 20,000 requests a year, some cases are not taken. Us we give our opinion on 400 cases a yearor, and there are cases of institutional relevance that have an impact on the organization of institutions, such as the Judicial Council or cases of organization of the federal system, such as the sharing of resources. In those cases, the parties ask that they not be treaties, because Congress was going to make laws.
We witness a strong internal government. Is the Court exempt from internal ones?
Us we have a responsible relationship. Beyond everything they say, what you have to see are the facts: most of the rulings we make are unanimous. In the concrete facts we have no problems. Obviously there are different opinions, but that’s very good.
Are we going to have a Court of four members for many years?
We can’t continue to function with four members, that is clear. But it is a decision of the Executive Power.
ROSARY BEADS. SPECIAL SENT.