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ARGENTINA | 30-07-2018 11:59

Human rights groups urge Senate to grill Attorney General hopeful

Activists fears that media attention focused on the abortion debate and reforms to the Armed Forces will see Inés Weinberg de Roca's nomination hearing on Tuesday 31 become a walk in the park.

In the countdown for Judge Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca to defend her Attorney General nomination before the Senate, human rights organizations opposed to her candidacy will today send a letter to senators, urging them to grill the government's candidate. 

Activists fears that media attention focused on the abortion debate and reforms to the Armed Forces will see Weinberg de Roca's nomination hearing on Tuesday 31 become a walk in the park.

The letter was signed by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo-Founding Line, H.I.J.O.S., Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared for Political Reasons, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH) and the Argentine League for the Rights of Man, among others organisations. 

All of them have questioned the suitability of Weinberg, who is the lead justice on Buenos Aires City's Supreme Court, given a series of public statements she made in 2008 regarding human rights.

Last April, Perfil published excerpts from an interview Weinberg had given to the "Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal" group on October 27, 2008. She had participated as as a member of Rwanda's International Criminal Court.

In the interview, the judge compared the process of seeking justice for the UN-investigated genocide in Rwanda with the crimes that occurred during Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship and the subsequent trials for crimes against humanity. She called it a process of justice for "one side" and not the other, and declared "that's not right".

That phrase, like others she made during the long interview, triggered alarm among Argentine human rights organizations, including the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS).

On June 28, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo presented a letter to the Senate with the signature of its president, Estela de Carloto, objecting to Weinberg's nomination until she clarified her statements. 

Carlotto also alluded to decisions Weinberg has made as a judge, including her vote on December 23, 2015 to allow police to arrest people in the streets and force them to provide identification without a court order (the so-called "Vera" ruling); her position regarding the legitimacy of court ordered DNA testing of people against their will; and, finally, her opinion as to whether the Supreme Court should address the statute of limitations on matters of crimes against humanity.

SENATORS' DISINTEREST

One of the issues that most concerns human rights groups is the lack of interest shown by national senators in the last few weeks.

With the exception of Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's voting bloc, Citizens United, Weinberg will not encounter much resistance from the other senators. 

The ruling PRO party has not yet agreed on questions for the nominee despite the the hearing having been scheduled for the 31st months ago. 

There are some senators from the ruling Cambiemos coalition who told this journalist that they have assessed Weinberg's curriculum on their own terms, but only at the coalition meeting today will they agree to criteria for the hearing.

Some Congressional advisers say they were surprised to meet the judge in the corridors of the Upper House recently, as Weinberg passed by to "introduce herself" to senators.

Peronist majority leader Miguel Pichetto says his bloc is "in no hurry" to approve Weinberg's nomination. They are evening threatening to extend the hearing process in order to flex their muscles at the government. 

Pichetto's bloc is also in the process of determining the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate in order to establish a line of questioning for her hearing.

This article originally appeared in Spanish on Perfil.com

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Mariano Beldyk

Mariano Beldyk

Subeditor de Política de Diario Perfil.

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