June 5, 2020

The IACHR, without competition for Bukele’s lawsuit against Congress and the Supreme Court


The president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Joel Hernández, warned this Thursday that the body does not have jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit that the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced that he will file against Congress and the Supreme Court of his country.

“The commission does not have a competence to resolve controversies between two or more state organs. In fact, no international organization or any international tribunal would come to know about these controversies,” said the lawyer in a virtual forum organized by the Defense Attorney’s Office. of Human Rights (PDDH) of El Salvador.

This was in response to a question about his position on the president’s announcement given Wednesday night.

Hernández clarified that “the Commission’s competence is with respect to alleged violations that some state agent commits against people, violations of the American Convention on Human Rights or any of the inter-American instruments.”

“We are here in a very evident case of controversies between state powers that have to be resolved through the constitutional means established in the Constitution of El Salvador,” he said.

He said that he celebrates that “in El Salvador there is this democratic game” of control between state powers and highlighted “the role that the Constitutional Chamber is playing” and the Legislative Assembly “exercising its role.”

He also noted that “President Bukele is obliged, in the first place, to comply with the commandments of his own organs, be it the Legislative Assembly or the Constitutional Court.”

The announcement of the lawsuit came amid constant tensions between the Executive and Congress and the Supreme Court, bodies that Bukele accuses of withdrawing tools to stop the advance of COVID-19.

“The demand is for the IACHR for the violation of the right to health and life of the Salvadoran people by not allowing the government the tools and taking the necessary measures to prevent the spread and spread of the pandemic,” said the president in a press conference Wednesday night.

Congress last week refused to extend the national emergency, citing human rights violations by the Executive, and instead passed a law to reopen the economy in the next 120 days and which Bukele promised to veto.

Faced with the legal vacuum to maintain the “absolute” quarantine, Bukele decreed a state of emergency based on legislation that allows it when Congress cannot meet, but remained in effect for less than a day.

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court suspended its effects in a process of unconstitutionality in which it will determine if Bukele exercised a legislative power without justification.

Human Rights Watch executive director for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, regretted in the same virtual forum the situation in El Salvador and called the Salvadoran president a “populist leader who is constantly challenging the rule of law and democratic institutions” .

“Pretending or arguing on the part of the Executive that he is a kind of victim and that is why he announces that he is going to go to an international body of such relevance as the IACHR is a mistake because it is demagoguery,” said Vivanco.

El Salvador registers 1,640 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 33 deceased and 977 patients suspected of contagion, according to the latest official count.

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