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Cablegate: Argentina: Supreme Court Justice to Visit U.S. To Further

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0643/01 1361026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151026Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1033
INFO RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1147
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6794
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6892
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY CARACAS 1808
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7101
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6893
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000643

SBU
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER SNAR SCUL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: SUPREME COURT JUSTICE TO VISIT U.S. TO FURTHER
JUDICIAL REFORM


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Argentina4s Supreme Court President Ricardo
Lorenzetti will travel to Washington and New York the week of May 19
for meetings at the American Law Institute and the Council of the
Americas as part of his effort to strengthen judicial practices in
Argentina. Ambassador Wayne met with Lorenzetti on April 28 to
discuss ways the Embassy might cooperate in strengthening
Argentina's judicial reforms. Lorenzetti said he had already
introduced public audiences by the Supreme Court, inspired by U.S.
practices, and looks forward to learning from more U.S. best
practices. Ambassador Wayne asked Lorenzetti about a recent
"phishing" episode he suffered on his personal computer at the
Supreme Court. Lorenzetti said an investigation is underway but that
the incident is very disturbing. Lorenzetti is a serious reformer.
It would be very worthwhile for U.S. officials to reach out to him
during his visit. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Argentine National Judicial Management Reform Plan
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (U) Ambassador Wayne met with Argentine Supreme Court President
Dr. Ricardo Lorenzetti on April 28 to discuss developments in the
National Judicial Management Plan announced at the beginning of the
judicial year on February 15, 2008. The Chief Justice stressed the
need for a concerted state policy under the leadership of the
Supreme Court, to reform the judiciary in a consistent fashion, and
the importance of training in bringing about a cultural change
within the judicial community. Lorenzetti stated how the backlog of
unresolved cases continues to increase, thus creating the need to
examine reforms involving the court's case management system.
Lorenzetti told the Ambassador that reforming the case management
system (and reducing the case backlog) had led the Supreme Court to
establish the National Commission on Judicial Management. As one
example of how the U.S. experience might help, Ambassador Wayne
described how the federal magistrate system in the U.S. has helped
to increase judicial efficiency, resulting in the more expeditious
resolution of court cases and increasing overall case management.

3. (U) The Ambassador talked with Lorenzetti about the annual
Administration of Justice trip to the U.S. organized by the Embassy
since 2001 under the "Justice Undergoing Change" rubric and the
possibility of inviting some of the members of the Management4s Plan
technical team to participate this year. The Ambassador mentioned
three other possible ways the Embassy might cooperate: 1) organizing
speaker programs to "train the trainers" with specialists from U.S.
judicial institutions like the Federal Judiciary Center, and court
clerks, including the Clerk for the District of Puerto Rico; 2)
arranging distance education training programs through digital
videoconferences; 3) bringing an evaluation expert to identify
possible improvements in the implementation of the Judicial
Management Plan. Lorenzetti said he was open to using all these
channels.

4. (U) Justice Lorenzetti mentioned several new technological
developments that would be introduced shortly, including digital
notification and electronic payment systems, digitized Social
Security and Tax Collecting procedures, and a new public process for
purchasing hardware and software to be announced within the first
semester by the National Council of Judges (in coordination with the
Supreme Court).

----------------
Public Audiences
----------------

5. (U) Ambassador Wayne asked the Chief Justice about a recent
public audience held before the Supreme Court on a freedom of
expression case, and Lorenzetti answered that the public audience
approach was based on that practiced by the U.S. Supreme Court. This
was the result of a project he drafted following his trip to the
U.S. last October when he met with Chief Justice Roberts and
Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia.

------------------------
Potential Trips to the U.S.
------------------------

6. (U) Ambassador Wayne also spoke with Lorenzetti about the Chief
Justice4s next trip to the U.S. together with an Associate Justice,
which will take place in May at the invitation of the Center for
Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and with the financial
support of the Embassy. Lorenzetti stressed the importance of this
trip and another one scheduled for later this year which came as the
result of an invitation by U.S. Federal Judge Anthony Sirica (who
was recently in Argentina) to attend a session of the American Law
Institute and Unidroit (an international legal association) in
Philadelphia. Lorenzetti told the Ambassador on May 12 that he would
travel to Washington DC the week of May 19 for two days of meetings
at an American Law Institute seminar, which would describe best
practices in case law. The Justice will then participate in a
Council of Americas event in New York City.

---------------------------
Substitute National Judges
---------------------------

7. (SBU) The Ambassador also asked Lorenzetti for an update on the
status of substitute national judges. (NOTE: Several years ago, the
National Council of Judges put into practice a system of hiring
substitute judges on a temporary basis to fill the gaps produced by
a rash of retirements from the bench. The appointments were supposed
to be temporary until permanent replacements were named according to
constitutional procedures. Last year, however, the Supreme Court
declared the system unconstitutional, extended its validity only to
the end of May 2008, and gave Congress one year to fix the problem.
END NOTE.) Lorenzetti said that even though the Executive Branch
promised a solution by sending a bill to Congress, he is very
skeptical about the outcome and hinted that the Supreme Court may
extend for another year the term of validity of these substitute
judges because of the government4s delay.

----------------
Phishing Episode
----------------

8. (SBU) Ambassador Wayne asked the Chief Justice about a phishing
episode he recently suffered on his personal computer at the Supreme
Court, as reported in the media. Lorenzetti described the situation
to the Ambassador, saying that it started with several emails he
received in which he was asked to provide personal information to
the Supreme Court's alleged Internet provider. After some
administrative inquiries and a talk with the other Justices,
Lorenzetti reported the situation to the criminal judiciary. Pagina
12 newspaper reported on May 4 2008 that a "Telmex" Internet
provider4s written communication to the Chief Justice had involved
another user who was alleged to be a former agent of the State
Secretary of Intelligence -SIDE - named Ivn Germn Velzquez. On
May 10-11 two other newspapers reported that these incidents were
part of a broader pattern of electronic mail surveillance by GOA
authorities, and one paper carried an interview with Velzquez
saying he had been involved in some activities but was not
responsible for the Supreme Court incident. On May 12 a Supreme
Court source said the investigation continued but it appeared that
some government element had been involved.

-------------------------
Justice Argibay4s health
-------------------------


9. (U) The Ambassador expressed to the Chief Justice his concern
about Associate Justice Carmen Argibay4s health. Argibay had
recently undergone an appendectomy followed by a mild heart attack.
Lorenzetti told the Ambassador that Justice Argibay4s condition was
improving and that she was resting after returning home from the
hospital.

------------------
Future Cooperation
------------------

10. (U) At the conclusion of the meeting, Lorenzetti thanked the
Ambassador for all the support provided so far by the Embassy and
indicated he would be in touch again in connection with future moves

toward the implementation of the National Judicial Management Plan.


11. (SBU) Comment: Lorenzetti is serious about strengthening
judicial independence in Argentina and reforming the system to
improve efficiency. It would be very worthwhile for U.S. officials
to reach out to him during his visit. End Comment
WAYNE

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