The Federal Chamber of Cassation declared void this Tuesday the case in which the vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was accused of the alleged irregular use of the planes of the presidential fleet for his personal benefit.
The highest criminal court, in a ruling signed by judges Guillermo Yacobucci, Ángela Ledesma and Alejandro Slokar, decided to reject everything acted by judge Claudio Bonadio, arguing that the person who denounced her should not have been the one who also investigated her. Besides, removed from the file the federal chambermaids Leopoldo Bruglia, Pablo Bertuzzi and Mariano Llorens.
The cause publicly known as “Aviones” is a detachment of “Notebooks.” Therefore, the decision of the court of cassation may have an impact on the main file, which has already been submitted to an oral and public trial.
It gave rise to a appeal filed by the defense of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, which maintained that Bonadio had kept the investigation of a file in which he acted as a complainant. This conduct is known in criminal law as “forum shopping” (choice of the judge) and is considered a violation of the guarantee to be judged by an impartial judge.
Bonadío opened the Aircraft Case as a new file and as a complainant, for which reason he should have sent the “extraction of testimonies” (the new fact) to the Federal Chamber so that it could draw a lottery for another investigating court. Justice Slokar rightly emphasized “the express legal prohibition that prevents the person who denounced an act from later intervening as a judge.”
Precisely for that reason, Bonadio had already been removed from the case. “Failure to depart from the complaining judge –later occurred by means of recusal– saw the duty of impartiality, an essential condition to ensure due process, irremediably compromised”, sustains the ruling.
“By virtue of the breach of a basic guarantee that affects the just order, it must be struck down with the sanction of annulment everything acted by the complainant judge and at the same time the investigator in the case”, adds the resolution.
The Cassation also ordered the dismissal, as an appeal, of judges Bruglia, Bertuzzi and Llorens, the latter who in the framework of this same case had proposed the removal and arrest of Cristina Kirchner.
Those judges had partially confirmed the prosecution issued by Bonadio against the vice president and, in turn, rejected all the motions for nullity introduced by her defense.
What was the cause of “Airplanes” and why it could have an impact on “Notebooks”
The cause for irregular flights is one of the processes by which the Bonadio had subjected the former president to a marathon of eight investigative statements on February 25, 2019. It originated in the cause of the “notebooks”.
The decision has an impact on other files in which the deceased magistrate promoted the processes in an anomalous way, either by sending them to a lottery or, as he did in the case of the “notebooks”, invoking presumed connections to keep the cases through “files”. research”.
Through this mechanism, he attributed the crime of unlawful association to businessmen Carlos Wagner, Angelo Calcaterra, Aldo Benito Roggio, Enrique Pescarmona, Juan Carlos Lascurain, Juan Carlos de Goycoechea, among others, heads of the local holdings linked to public works, integrating the illegal association headed, according to the accusation, by Cristina Fernández.
Judge Ledesma introduced a concept in today’s ruling that seems to have an impact on these investigations, but especially in the Cuadernos case: “The impartial court presupposes the prohibition that anyone who has intervened, in any way, or in another function or in another instance of the same case, form part of it”.
“The performance of the complainant magistrate as judge of the case, has transgressed the guarantee of impartiality of the judgea basic structural principle to give validity to criminal proceedings in a Rule of Law”, stated the resolution.