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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Argentina talks on social participation and fundamental rights

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Argentine Nation, Ricardo Lorenzetti, presented on Friday (17) at the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF) the conference "Public Hearings, Social Participation and Implementation of Fundamental Rights – The experience of the Superior Court of Argentina ". The event was an initiative of justice Edson Fachin as part of the Hora de Atualização project.

Among the points raised, Lorenzetti said that it is up to the judge to identify majority consensus and limit them when they violate fundamental rights. "The magistrate has to favor popular participation and debate through public hearings. Consensus is the result of interaction of different positions. After that, the judge can decide," he said.

According to the Chief Justice of the Argentine court, the judge must select a limited number of priority topics per year for holding public hearings. "We have to listen to all positions, but the pressures are between the parties. Democratic debate can not be a game of pressure. The tension must be resolved with harmonization. The debate can not be emotional, but technical, "he said.

In its assessment, with societies increasingly divided, the task of the courts is to reinforce some values. "Judges are the guardians of institutions and individual rights. Their actions should not be aimed at replacing the will of the majorities or minorities, but rather to ensure procedures for them to express themselves, "he said.


According to Lorenzetti, in the past, judicial conflicts related to individual rights, especially in the civil and criminal areas. "Now we have issues of institutional interest, such as corruption, environment, consumer rights, and everyone can change the political, economic and social scenario," he said.

Another difference pointed out by the Argentine magistrate is that, previously, the territorial space of the conflicts coincided with the jurisdiction. "Now we have regional and global cases and the decisions exorbit the jurisdiction," he said. Moreover, currently most of the relevant cases require the analysis of the relationship of the Constitution with laws, treaties, regulations and jurisprudence. "It's a complex and creative task that needs the dialogue of the sources," he said.

The president of the Argentine court also noted that in the last decade, there have been many judicial decisions in the world that go beyond traditional judicial self-restraint. However, he does not consider this a demonstration of judicial activism. "The problem is that in many countries there are constitutional clauses or laws that have many protections. Courts should only declare a violation of the law. This is not judicial activism, "he said.


At the opening of the event, the president of the STF, justice Cármem Lúcia, said that the presence of the Argentine magistrate was important to strengthen the ties between the two countries. "I want, as the friendly nations that we are, to continue to grow together. Meetings of this nature are extremely important so that we can increasingly reaffirm those ties that unite us, especially in matters of law and the consolidation of our institutions", she said.

In his turn, justice Edson Fachin reinforced the importance of the STF's relationship with other institutions. "We are all tenants of this house called dialogue. The event is still a demonstration that minds and hearts can meet to dialogue with each other, with society, institutions and nations. The Supreme Courts can not live in themselves, "he said.

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