The executive director of HRW for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, warned of the consequences that the extension of the mandate of Arturo Zaldívar at the head of the Supreme Court would bring, as approved by the Senate on Thursday
The NGO Human Rights Watch ( HRW ) criticized on Sunday severely President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said “threatens judicial independence” in the country after his party, Morena, extend the mandate of the president of the Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldívar, last Thursday.
On Thursday senators from the ruling Morena party approved a bill to extend the term of the president of the Supreme Court for two years. The bill, which has yet to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, violates art. 97 par. 4 of the Constitution, ”said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of HRW for the Americas, in his social networks, in keeping with what experts in the field have evaluated.
“But that is not all. The president of the Supreme Court is in turn one of the seven members of the Council of the Judiciary (Federal). The others are: one elected by the President of the Republic; two elected by the Senate (with an official majority); and three elected by the SCJN ”, he added.By extending the mandate to the president of the Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldívar, AMLO, who has a majority in the Senate, ensures a majority of four of the seven members of the Council of the Federal Judiciary
In addition, Vivanco recalled, López Obrador has already said that Zaldívar “has confidence in him. ” “I have confidence in the president of the Supreme Court, I consider him an honest people and I think that if the term is extended with the purpose that he leads the reform of the Judicial Power, I agree, but I am not going to decide, they will be the legislators, ”the Mexican president emphasized at a press conference on Friday.
Vivanco also questioned: “Why is it so worrying that AMLO has an automatic majority in the Council? Because with 4 votes he can make some momentous decisions, such as approving the forced retirement of judges, ”he remarked.
“With one more vote, AMLO would have a qualified majority of five judges that will allow him to appoint, sanction and remove judges. In fact, AMLO recently tried to sanction a judge just for ruling against him, ”Vivanco added.
But for Vivanco there is still “more”. “As president of the Supreme Court, Zaldívar is also the president of the Federal Judicial Council. This gives it key functions, including setting the agenda for the Council’s discussions and directing the debates, ”he explained.PlayAMLO supported reform that extends the presidency of Arturo Zaldívar in SCJN (Video: Government of Mexico)
” Do you have any doubts about this assault on justice? Listen to AMLO shamelessly acknowledge his own chess move, “he concluded, using the video of López Obrador in his press conference, where he welcomed the extension of Zaldívar’s mandate by the majority of his own party in the Senate.
For its part, the opposition also fiercely criticized the extension of Zaldívar’s mandate, which would coincide with the end of López Obrador’s six-year term (2024). But in the Chamber of Deputies, despite the majority held by Morena, the addendum to the reform of the Judiciary will be faced with the ruling party itself.
“This transitory article to extend the presidency of Minister Zaldívar in the Supreme Court for two additional years could not pass even when it was approved and promulgated. Better say it from now on ”; said Pablo Gómez, the experienced Moreno deputy and one of the leaders of the bench.