Supreme Court must decide on vacancy in Public Defender’s Office lasting 10 years
ADC and other organizations, such as FARN, Fundación Sur, INECIP, and Poder Ciudadano, filed a petition requesting that the Supreme Court order Congress to start the procedure for appointing a Federal Ombudsman. A ruling has already been issued declaring that the Legislative Branch is incurring an “unconstitutional omission.” The highest court must now decide whether the Judiciary should establish measures to cover the vacancy in the Office of the Public Defender, which has already lasted 13 years.
As to the case, a court pronouncement in 2016 urges the Houses of Congress “to fulfill their obligation to appoint an Ombudsman according to the provisions of Article 86 of the Argentinian Constitution.” However, the Court of Appeals held that such judgment was not enforceable and thus, no measures could be taken to force the Legislature to comply with it. The signing organizations filed an extraordinary federal appeal against this decision, so that the Supreme Court could intervene.
The Federal Ombudsman is an essential figure in the defense of human rights, controlling government actions and serving as a channel of communication between the authorities and society. However, the office has been vacant for more than 13 years, in a context in which 37.3% of the population is below the poverty line and our institutional building continues to show its flaws in guaranteeing equal access to public services, health, housing, and justice, among others, continue to be notorious.
We hope that the Supreme Court will exercise its attributions to ensure that Congress fulfills its constitutional obligation so that people’s rights are safeguarded, particularly those of historically vulnerable groups. Likewise, the relevance of the issue calls for the Supreme Court to open a public hearing so that interested parties, activists, and experts can express their opinions.
The role of the Court, in this case, is not to supplant the will of the Legislative Branch, but to demand that it start the necessary procedures to put an end to the unconstitutional omission incurred by both Houses, establishing precise orders regarding the actions to be taken.
Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ).
Association for Civil Rights (ADC)
Environment and Natural Resources Foundation (FARN)
Sur Argentina Foundation (Fundación Sur Argentina)
Institute for Comparative Studies in Criminal and Social Sciences (INECIP)
Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power)