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Justice Dias Toffoli participates in the 9th Ibero-American Conference on Constitutional Justice

Friday, May 25th 2012

Justice Dias Toffoli represented the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) on the 9th Meeting of the Ibero-American of the Conference on Constitutional Justice, held in Cadiz, Spain, between May 16th and May 19th.

The 9th Meeting of the Ibero-American Conference on Constitutional Justice happened during the celebration of the bicentennial of Spanish Constitution of 1812, document inaugurating Spanish constitutionalism. The opening ceremony was attended by the Prince of Asturias, Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz Gallardón and the President of the Constitutional Court of Spain, Pascual Sala Sanchéz.

The central theme of the debates was “Presidentialism and Parliamentarism in Constitutional Case Law”. During the sessions the discussions were focused on issues such as the contribution of constitutional jurisdiction in maintaining institutional balance between the Legislative and the Judiciary powers, i.e., the constitutional guarantee of what, in the shared legal culture of the Ibero-American countries has been called the separation of powers and which corresponds to the preservation of an institutional order both capable of protecting of the civil liberties and open to the participation of society.

There were debates on the police forces activism and its relation to the overburden of the courts specially with regard to situations in Mexico and Nicaragua and also on the openness to civil society participation and its influence on the decisions of the Supreme Courts, particularly STF and Bolivian Supreme Court.

The Minister’s speech was delivered on Thursday (May 17th), the first day of the Conference, during the seminars, in which the representatives from each country make their pronouncements. Regarding Brazilian participation on the separation of powers, in the Minister’s evaluation, it is harmonious in its classical conception, but contentious in practice in many countries of the world, especially in the West.

“Legislative should have the function of caring for the future, the Executive, the present, and the Judiciary, the past. But, what we observe in the beginning of the 21st Century is that the Legislative no longer takes care of the future: it’s the Executive that is formulator of the future and the conflicts and dilemmas on which the Legislative is unable to make a decision are transformed into judicial matters. Thus, the present is placed in the hands of the Judiciary.” This was the Minister’s statement to the other speakers.

As an example, Minister Dias Toffoli referred to the recent decision of STF on the recognition of the civil partnership for same-sex couples, ruling the ADI 4277 and the ADPF 132.

Minister Dias Toffoli also explained the participants about federalism in Brazil, the functioning of the bicameral system in the Brazilian Congress, the functioning of Brazilian political parties and the relation between Executive and Legislative when it comes to public policies.

On the exchange programs from STF, the initial contacts with the representatives of the Courts of Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Mexico were established.
The Final Document pointed out, among other important aspe

cts, the determination in continuing and intensifying contacts and communications with other Conferences, the importance of the issue of the volume named “Estructura y Atribuiciones de los Tribunales y Salas Constitutionales de Iberoamerica”, the need to strengthen and continue the project of the Conference website and more particularly the objective of integrating and strengthening the World Conference on Constitutional Justice”.

The next country to receive the 10th edition of the Conference will be the Dominican Republic.

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