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The Chilean Constitutional Court supports Boric's pardons


The judges reject the request presented by the opposition, which sought to challenge seven of the 13 pardons granted by the Chilean president in December

Guard at the Constitutional Court, Santiago de Chile.Iván Alvarado

The Chilean Constitutional Court has rejected the unconstitutionality requirements presented by the opposition to challenge seven of the 13 pardons that President Gabriel Boric granted in December 2022, 12 of them to those convicted of crimes committed in the social revolt of October 2019. the resolution, the ruling party managed to close the legal focus that opened the decision of the president, but not the political edge.

In parallel, an investigative commission of the Chamber of Deputies will investigate whether there were irregularities in the granting of these freedoms to people who committed crimes such as looting, arson or the frustrated homicide of a police officer.

The magistrates have not elaborated on communicating the foundations of the decision, which will be known within a month, approximately.

It has only been reported that, in his opinion, Boric's pardons conform to the Constitution.

The court that ruled on the pardons had for years a history of criticism from the Chilean left following a series of conservative rulings.

Until 2019, in addition, it used to paralyze the causes of human rights violations, perpetrated during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), while the appeal fund was resolved.

Even in the proposal for a new Constitution, which was rejected last year by 62% of the citizenry, several of its most controversial powers had been eliminated.

But in 2022, the balance changed position, with the withdrawal of two of its members who were from the right and their replacement by two judges close to the ruling party appointed by Boric: the president of the body, Nancy Yáñez, and the minister Daniela Marzi, with what the court today is charged to the center-left.

It was one of the two factors that gave the Executive peace of mind.

The other was that, legally, it was very difficult to overthrow a pardon, because it is a discretionary power of the Presidents of the Republic.

The questions

The pardons for those convicted of crimes in the framework of the 2019 revolts were a campaign promise by Boric and since he decreed them, last December, there has been criticism from different sectors, especially from the right.

Even the president himself acknowledged that in the process there were "improperties."

The opposition announced an impeachment process against Justice Minister Marcela Ríos, who finally left the Cabinet in January and was replaced by lawyer Luis Cordero, who took charge of the crisis.

This chapter cost the president's chief of staff, Matías Meza-Lopehandía, one of Boric's most trusted men, who played a key role in the liberties granted.

The pardons have also been criticized for the moment that the president chose, because he did so when the government and the opposition were trying to reach a transversal agreement on security, the main concern of the public regarding the advance of organized crime and the rise in homicides, which remained suspended.

Among those pardoned, as it became known later, there were people with a long record of common crimes prior to the social outbreak of 2019. This is the case of Luis Castillo, who called himself a political prisoner, but who had 26 legal cases, had been sentenced five times for simple theft, frustrated simple theft, less serious injuries, robbery with violence and robbery by surprise.

Boric released in parallel Jorge Mateluna, the only one of the group who was not convicted of crimes committed in the framework of the social revolt,

The Ex-Ante media revealed a few days ago that, in the case of six of the 13 convicted, the Gendarmerie had issued negative reports regarding the granting of pardons.

The Government, however, clarified that these opinions are not binding and that there are other antecedents, such as the family networks of the convicted, which are taken into account when deciding on freedoms.

A complicated vote

The Constitutional Court is composed of eight ministers.

Its full integration is 10, but in the Chilean Parliament there has been no political agreement since last year to fill the two pending vacancies.

The deliberation regarding the pardons had a series of complications.

It was even about to be postponed by a judge's request.

But President Nancy Yáñez, whom Boric appointed to the court in April 2022, a month after he took office at La Moneda, had set the hearing for this March 21, which finally took place, before a great expectation of public opinion.

Yáñez is an academic at the Law School of the University of Chile, the same one where the left-wing president studied.

The judge is a specialist in human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, and in 2009 she directed the university thesis of lawyer Matías Meza-Lopehandía, Boric's former chief of staff who played an important role in the pardons.

The closest vote was presented in the case of three pardoned, including Mateluna and Castillo: five of the eight judges refused to declare their pardons unconstitutional, while the other three magistrates – linked to the right – were in the opposite position.

In the analysis of the other four cases, the opposition's appeal was more widely rejected, by six votes to two.

Once the resolution was known, Judge Rodrigo Pica, part of the majority vote, explained that against the ruling of the Constitutional Court "no appeal is appropriate", which closes the legal edge of the controversy.

The senator of the opposition party UDI Luz Ebensperger said that the decision of the judges "was to be expected", but that "political responsibility still remains".

The right-wing parliamentarian added that at a time when the country "lives a crisis of insecurity" and "people ask in all the polls that criminals be in jail, the president pardons them."

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-22

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