UN expert condemns dismissals of top judges and A-G: El Salvador

OHCHR

The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, said today he was seriously concerned by the decision of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador to remove all the magistrates on the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General.

“This decision, taken last Saturday in matter of few hours by the Congress, didn´t follow minimum guarantees of due process, and was followed by the hasty selection and appointment, as well, of their replacements,” said the UN expert, adding the new appointments were not conducted transparently.

“It must be recalled that these steps against judicial independence have been undertaken in open and intense interaction with the political decision and intervention of President Bukele whose political party controls the Congress. 

“The decision violates article 172 of the Salvadorian Constitution which guarantees independence of the magistrates and international rules such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Basic Principles of the UN on independence of judges and the Guidelines of the UN on the Role of Prosecutors,” García-Sayán said. He added it also ran contrary to inter-American standards and binding rulings of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.

The Special Rapporteur emphasizes that the principle of the irremovability of judges is fundamental for judicial independence. “Democratic institutions, the separation of power and independence of the judiciary are under attack,” he stressed.

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