OHCHR / EL SALVADOR

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04-May-2021 00:02:37
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday warned that the decision by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to dismiss the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Attorney General “seriously undermines democracy and the rule of law in the country,” according to a spokesperson. OHCHR

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STORY: OHCHR / EL SALVADOR
TRT: 2:37
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: SPANISH / NATS

DATELINE: 04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Marta Hurtado, Spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
« La Alta Comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, Michelle Bachelet, advirtió el lunes que la decisión de la Asamblea Legislativa salvadoreña de destituir sin el debido proceso a los magistrados de la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia y al fiscal general del país socava gravemente la democracia y el estado de derecho.
‘La separación de poderes es la piedra angular de cualquier democracia. Debilitar el control que uno ejerce sobre el otro provoca la erosión de los pilares del estado de derecho y, por ende, del sistema democrático de un país,’ afirmó la Alta Comisionada.
El pasado 1 de mayo, la recién constituida Asamblea Legislativa Salvadoreña destituyó a todos los miembros de la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia -cinco magistrados permanentes y sus suplentes- alegando que éstos habían actuado de forma inconstitucional al fallar en contra de actos y decisiones tomadas por el ministerio de Sanidad en relación a la pandemia de la COVID-19. Acto seguido, los legisladores también cesaron al fiscal general citando sus lazos con un partido de la oposición.
Tanto los magistrados como el fiscal general fueron substituidos en las horas siguientes. La Alta Comisionada dijo que las normas y estándares internacionales de derechos humanos estipulan que ‘los jueces solo pueden ser substituidos en caso de faltas graves de conducta o de incompetencia, de acuerdo a un procedimiento justo que asegure la objetividad y la imparcialidad establecida en la constitución o la ley,’ en referencia al Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos, que El Salvador ha ratificado.
‘El procedimiento seguido para cesar a todos los jueces de la Corte Constitucional de la Corte Suprema y al fiscal general no cumplió con los estándares requeridos sobre el debido proceso, lo que es una infracción de la ley internacional de derechos humanos y un ataque directo a la independencia judicial, clave para el funcionamiento democrático,’ aseguró la máxima responsable de derechos humanos de la ONU.
‘Los jueces y fiscales deben ser protegidos de interferencias inapropiadas y de intimidación,’ subrayó Bachelet.
La Alta Comisionada recordó, además, que es obligación de los estamentos del estado, incluido el legislativo y el ejecutivo, de acatar las decisiones judiciales, sean éstas de su agrado o no.
‘Lamentablemente, lo que vemos en El Salvador es la profundización de una alarmante tendencia hacia la concentración de poderes. Quiero recordar a todas las autoridades estatales la necesidad de cumplir con sus obligaciones de derecho internacional para restaurar el Estado de Derecho y la separación de poderes,’ concluyó Bachelet.”
(English translation) “United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday warned that the decision by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to dismiss the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Attorney General seriously undermines democracy and the rule of law in the country.
‘The separation of powers is a cornerstone of any democracy. Weakening of this important system of checks and balances leads to the erosion of the pillars of the rule of law and thus of a country's democratic system,’ the High Commissioner said.
On 1 May, the newly constituted Salvadoran Legislative Assembly dismissed all members of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice - five permanent magistrates and their alternates – alleging that they had acted unconstitutionally in ruling against the Ministry of Health’s acts and decisions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislators also dismissed the Attorney General, citing his ties to an opposition party.
The magistrates and the Attorney General were replaced within hours. High Commissioner Bachelet said international human rights norms and standards stipulate that ‘judges may be dismissed only on serious grounds of misconduct or incompetence, in accordance with fair procedures ensuring objectivity and impartiality set out in the constitution or the law,’ referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which El Salvador has ratified.
‘The procedure followed to dismiss all the judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General did not meet the required due process standards, which is a breach of international human rights law and a direct attack on judicial independence,’ she said.

‘Judges and prosecutors must be protected from undue interference and intimidation,’ Bachelet stressed.
The High Commissioner also recalled that it is the obligation of the State, including the legislature and the executive, to abide by judicial decisions, whether or not they are to their liking.
‘Unfortunately, what we see in El Salvador is the deepening of an alarming trend towards the concentration of power. I remind all State authorities of the need to comply with their obligations under international law, to restore the rule of law and the separation of powers,’ Bachelet said.”

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

3. Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

STORYLINE:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday (04 May) warned that the decision by El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly to dismiss the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Attorney General “seriously undermines democracy and the rule of law in the country,” according to a spokesperson.

In a statement read by UN human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Marta Hurtado, Bachelet said the separation of powers is a “cornerstone of any democracy” and weakening of this important system of checks and balances leads to the “erosion of the pillars of the rule of law and thus of a country's democratic system.”

On 1 May, the newly constituted Salvadoran Legislative Assembly dismissed all members of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice - five permanent magistrates and their alternates – alleging that they had acted unconstitutionally in ruling against the Ministry of Health’s acts and decisions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislators also dismissed the Attorney General, citing his ties to an opposition party. The magistrates and the Attorney General were replaced within hours.

Bachelet said international human rights norms and standards stipulate that “judges may be dismissed only on serious grounds of misconduct or incompetence, in accordance with fair procedures ensuring objectivity and impartiality set out in the constitution or the law,” referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which El Salvador has ratified.
“The procedure followed to dismiss all the judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General did not meet the required due process standards, which is a breach of international human rights law and a direct attack on judicial independence,” she said in the statement.

“Judges and prosecutors must be protected from undue interference and intimidation,” Bachelet stressed.

The High Commissioner also recalled that it is the obligation of the State, including the legislature and the executive, to abide by judicial decisions, whether or not they are to their liking.

Bachelet concluded in her statement, “Unfortunately, what we see in El Salvador is the deepening of an alarming trend towards the concentration of power. I remind all State authorities of the need to comply with their obligations under international law, to restore the rule of law and the separation of powers.”
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