CFK calls court to retract rulings reopening cases against her

Two Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation judges dismissed her acquittal in the Hotesur and Iran Memorandum cases: her legal team says there should have been three

Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner presented an appeal to the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation on Monday, calling for it to annul its rulings reopening two cases against her

On September 18, the Chamber sent the vice president — and her son Máximo, among others — to oral trial for the cases known as “Hotesur-Los Sauces” and “Memorandum of Understanding with Iran.” She had previously been acquitted of those charges but the Chamber annulled the dismissals issued by the cases’ respective lower courts and recused several of their judges.

According to Télam, Kirchner’s legal team contends that the rulings should be overturned on the grounds that only two judges, Diego Barroetaveña and Daniel Petrone, voted on them when such decisions at the country’s highest criminal court require three judges. 

Among other arguments, they contend that while the law “enables the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation to issue its rulings with the concurring vote of two of its judges” the ensuing decision was of “dubious constitutionality.” 

“[The magistrates] do not have a discretionary prerogative to limit the framework of deliberation and exclude a third judge from the debate who, according to the law, must also discuss with their colleagues and share opinions to then issue a sentence,” said the appeal filed by the vice president’s lawyers Alberto Beraldi and Ary Llernovoy.

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The third judge in question is Ana María Figueroa, who was absent from the court due to a Supreme-Court-mandated removal from her post when she turned 75. Last week the Senate narrowly approved Figueroa’s reinstatement for another five-year term. The vote had to be done twice — with 35 votes for and against, Senator Claudia Ledesma Abdala de Zamora had to break the tie as interim head of the Senate, a position usually held by the vice president. The decision has yet to be ratified by President Alberto Fernández.

“The Chamber that issued the ruling was unduly constituted by only two judges, the third having been excluded from the resolution of the case through a decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that has no similar precedent and that is contrary to the practice followed in relation to other judges who were in the same situation as Judge Figueroa,” said the appeal. 

The Hotesur-Los Sauces case includes charges of illicit association and money laundering from the alleged renting of properties and hotels belonging to the Kirchner family. With the case reopened, Máximo Kirchner is set to stand trial but the court did uphold the acquittal granted to Kirchner’s daughter Florencia in 2021. She was 12 years old when the events allegedly took place.

As for the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with Iran — the purpose of which was to unblock the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center AMIA — the vice president had been accused of a cover-up alongside other public officials. The AMIA bombing killed 85 people and is the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. 

—with information from Télam


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