"It bothers them that we make lawfare visible"

Argentina kicked the board again. Before him Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN)the Secretary of Human Rights of the Nation, Horacio Pietragalla Cortidenounced that Argentine courts persecute leaders such as Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner or Milagro Sala. The opposition denounced that it was a maneuver to advance against the Supreme Court, days after the requests for impeachment against its members began to be discussed, and the search for impunity. Simultaneously, it was spread that the UN had asked to safeguard judicial independence, when there was no pronouncement from the body.

From Geneva, Pietragalla Corti attends to Page 12 with the little flow of voice that remains after a series of hectic, unpredictable days for a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that is usually an important instance but far from newspaper headlines.

What is your assessment of the presentation to the United Nations?

–Argentina is not just another country when it comes to human rights. Much attention is paid to us. When the countries took the floor to make their recommendations, there was massive congratulations for the change that Argentina had from 2017 until now. This was not only because of the intervention that we made now but because of the written report that we presented at the end of October of last year.

Q: To what do you attribute the version disseminated in different media that there was a request to guarantee judicial independence?

–They are looking for the hair to the egg. They cited a recommendation from a neighboring country like Chile which, in line with what we denounced from the lawfare and about what is happening with the Judiciary, he stated that they urged us to continue working for the independence of the Judiciary.

Q: Wasn’t there even some kind of suggestion, even if informal, by the United Nations on the judicial issue?

–Not. Clearly the United Nations does not manifest itself in this type of event. It’s an EPU. It is done every four years. The States later make returns and now there is a team from three countries –Bolivia, China and Gabon– that is collecting all the information from all the comments and will give us a report on Friday. We will then have three months to respond to those returns. The United Nations does not manifest itself in this type of act as such. It is a conceptual error but clearly this has to do with delegitimizing the visibility that we made of the lawfare in the region.

–After the reaction that existed, do you still support the strategy of talking about lawfare in the country in an international forum?

–Obvious. If something stands out to Argentina, it is that it does not hide its problems. When we say that democracy is at risk, it is because the only tool for power and citizen construction is the vote; The people and citizens choose a political project that they want when it comes to government to carry out the policies promised in the campaign, but with a Judicial Power like this, what the vast majority voted for in those elections cannot be carried out. They are intervening on political power and the democratic game is in danger. To this must be added the persecution of leaders who represent those neglected sectors of society and the dispute over the distribution of wealth in our continent. That is why Lula was imprisoned and today he is president. This is the clearest example that the lawfare exists.

Q: You said that political persecution is in force through the courts. Can this be taken as a mea culpa for what the Frente de Todos could not do in terms of reforms?

— I don’t see it that way in this scenario. Cristina has stated it many times: the power of political power, who is elected by the people, is relative; Power is elsewhere, in the concentrated economy, in the business sectors, in the judicial body and in the opposition sectors that represent this. In a scenario of wear and tear like the one we had — with a pandemic and with an inherited foreign debt — this was very complex. I do not justify that decisions were not made at the beginning that could have generated a stronger structural change.

Q: Can what you raised at the United Nations be understood as an accusation against the country –as Together for Change said– or should it be understood as recognition?

Q: Since we took office, we have sat before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and have said: “Yes, we are responsible for situations.” We have no problem recognizing the violations that the Argentine State can commit. I believe that this recognition is what helps us to repair going forward and change the institutions and laws so that these acts are not committed again. In this case, it is in that tune. We act accordingly with the atypical that the country is experiencing, such as, for example, the sentence of Cristina.

–The newspaper The nation You published that the Foreign Ministry did not endorse the strategy before the UN Human Rights Council. Was there such tension, did you discuss it with the President?

–Santiago Cafiero declared that this is endorsed by the Foreign Ministry. Obviously this was agreed with the President. What’s more, he asked me for modifications to clarify what the persecution of Cristina means. He agreed that we make visible what our democracy is suffering from the lawfare and, at the same time, also clarifying that the request for impeachment to the Court is a constitutional tool that the State has. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get to the impeachment trial, but at least they’re going to put their cards on the table and show society the aberration that the judiciary is carrying out. I’m not surprised by Clarion Y The nation in this framework, and how defensive they are of this Supreme Court, because they are part of the same table.

Elisa Carrió accused the government of acting blinded by the search for impunity and announced that she will make presentations to the United Nations. What does he answer?

–Impunity is having indebted the country with an illegal and historical credit – for the amount – and that with that money that entered the country not a single school or bridge has been built. It was used for a political campaign and for financial scams. All we want is to show what is happening in the region.

Q: How was the experience of speaking as an official before the Human Rights Council and, at the same time, being one of the grandchildren found by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo?

–I am proud to have recounted the policies that are made in Argentina against institutional violence or how the policy of Memory, Truth and Justice is strengthened, those convictions that we have and that we learned from each of the Mothers and Grandmothers. We always quote them and show why we are proud of the human rights policy that we carry out. But reaching a UPR with the issue on the front pages of the newspapers, with this supposed indignation that they are not indignant at all, generates discomfort. It bothers them that the States know about the lawfarethat yesterday were the coups d’état and today are the interventions –through the Judiciary– of the democratic processes.

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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