Federal court orders Bullrich to adapt her anti-protest protocol to the Constitution

The order came after the United Nations questioned the minister’s draconian protocol

A federal court demanded the Security Ministry adapt its anti-protest protocol, which it launched in December, to the limits outlined in the National Constitution and international human rights standards.

The order was issued by Federal Judge Sebastián Casanello, from the Federal Criminal and Correctional Court 7, in response to an unconstitutionality request filed by Buenos Aires City Deputy Celeste Fierro.

The anti-protest protocol, which Bullrich announced on December 14, authorizes federal security forces to clamp down on protests or marches carrying out any roadblock. Human rights organizations and members from opposition parties heavily questioned it.

Last month, the United Nations also criticized Bullrich’s protocol in conclusions written by their Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association. They said that considering any gathering as violent or criminal is contrary to the international standard of protection, and recording demonstrators should be subject to constitutional and legal limits, taking care not to violate the privacy of the demonstrators.

The UN warned that Bullrich’s protocol could enable the security forces to act outside internationally recognized standards of protection, consequently endangering fundamental human rights.

Casanello also requested that the Ministry write a report on the protocol but, according to his ruling, their response was unsatisfactory. First, the Ministry only said it was “analyzing” the UN rapporteur’s mandates. It also revealed that they did not consult any other state agencies, non-government organizations, or international agencies to create the protocol. Regarding international human rights standards, the Ministry only made “a generic invocation of instruments and documents.”

“Freedom of movement coexists with the exercise of other civil and political freedoms and rights, such as free expression, association and assembly, and the right to petition — and, particularly, to criticize — the authorities,” Casanello wrote, adding that the latter has a special value within the democratic system since they are “closer to the democratic nerve of the Constitution, deserving special protection.”

For those reasons, Casanello asked the Ministry to “restrict the actions of the federal police and security forces to the limits imposed by our Constitutional rule of law” and to “instruct the federal police and security forces, within the framework of their preventive activity, to immediately notify and consult with the judicial authorities, following the provisions of the procedural laws.”

The judge also summoned Fierro and a representative of the Ministry to appear before his court for a habeas corpus hearing on February 14 at 11:00 a.m.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald