Cablegate: Former Argentine Supreme Court Justice Seeks Usg
DE RUEHBU #0310 0711813
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111813Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0431
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0707
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000310
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KJUS IAHRC OAS AR
SUBJECT: FORMER ARGENTINE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SEEKS USG
SUPPORT IN CASE AGAINST GOA
1. (SBU) Polcouns met with former Argentine Supreme Court
Justice Antonio Boggiano, who is seeking USG intervention
with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) to
accelerate the handling of his case. Boggiano submitted his
case to the IAHRC 16 months ago, and his petition was issued
a number, meaning it meets in principle the requirements set.
However, the case may still be declared inadmissible, or the
Commission may find that no violation has occurred. The
Ambassador has already spoken twice to the former Justice on
the margins of other gatherings where Boggiano asked for U.S.
assistance. Boggiano's individual rights do not appear to
have been violated, and his case therefore seems to hinge on
the issue of judicial independence. See para 5 action
2. (SBU) Background: In 2005, the Argentine Senate removed
Justice Antonio Boggiano from the Supreme Court at the
request of the Nestor Kirchner administration on charges of
improper performance of official duties. The Senate based
its decision on three cases (Meller, Macri, and Dragonetti de
Roman) in which Boggiano's levied fines against the state
without adequately explaining his decisions. This was the
same charge made against fellow justices. Boggian's removal
from the Court seems to have met with public acquiescence.
Boggiano was removed a few weeks before the 2005 mid-term
elections, but his impeachment did not appear to cause public
outrage or become an issue in the elections of 2005 or 2007.
By most accounts, Nestor Kirchner's campaign to go after
Menem appointees (the former president packed the Supreme
Court with his nominees after expanding the Court from four
to nine justices) resulted in better-regarded appointments,
such as Elena Highton and Carmen Argibay.
3. (SBU) Boggiano's Argument: Boggiano, a professional jurist
with close ties to U.S. legal scholars and practitioners, has
argued that the above impeachment charges reflect the
Legislature's substantive disagreement with the content of
his verdicts rather than proof of improper performance.
Further, this Legislative interference in the Supreme Court
threatens the separation of powers in Argentina's government.
Boggiano also claimed that political differences motivated
his removal, namely his dissent on the Lariz Iriondo
extradition case in which he stated that all acts of
terrorism should be classified as crimes against humanity,
whether state-sponsored or by guerilla groups. An admirer of
the U.S. justice system, he believes he was unfairly singled
out, among other reasons, because of prejudice against his
ties with the Cathlic Church and Opus Dei.
Inter-American Human Rights Commission
4. (SBU) Post understands that the IAHRC assigned Boggiano's
petition a number (P-1247-06), which indicates that the
petition, in principle, meets the requirements established by
Convention, and that the IAHRC will review the petition.
Boggiano filed his petition November 10, 2006, but has not
heard back from the IAHRC since November 22, 2006, when it
advised him that the petition was under consideration. Post
does not know if this timespan is normal for IAHRC. Boggiano
is asking the USG to urge the IAHRC to take his case, or at a
minimum, to accelerate the handling of his case.
5. (SBU) Action Request: Post requests Department's guidance
on how to respond to Boggiano's request for USG intervention
with the IAHRC to expedite a response to his petition.