El Salvador legislative assembly removes supreme court judges

More than 100 organizations have signed a petiton that warns of the threat to democracy in El Salvador after the unusual dismissal of judges and the attorney general

President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele - Image: Wikimedia Commons President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele - Image: Wikimedia Commons

The current Legislative Assembly, with  government majority, allied with the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, and  removed judges from the country’s Supreme Court including the attorney general as well. On May 1, the Salvadoran Congress voted to dismiss supreme magistrates. A request that was approved with 64 votes, all from the Bukele government base. 

After the vote, the Assembly violated El Salvador’s democratic system by filling up the vacante positions through nominations, without calling for public vote, as stated in the country’s Constitution. 

More than 100 civil society organizations signed a petition warning of the risks involved in going against El Salvador’s democratic system. The entities emphasize the lack of transparency in the Congress decision, as the people that were laid off were not giving any reason whatsoever for the said decision and as such could not defend themselves – a violation of constitutional rights. 

The appointments made by Congress were forcibly imposed by the National Civil Police, by carrying out operations to take over the Institution headquarters of the Court of Justice System and the Attorney General’s Office.

In the letter, the bodies emphasize that the measures posed as an attack on the judicial independence of El Salvador as a whole and thereby call for the adoption of immediate measures to avoid a scenario of democratic rupture in the country.

“In particular, the illegitimate capture of judicial authorities connected to political power and the consequent disappearance of the principle of separation of powers are a dangerous precedent for democracy in the hemisphere,” the letter points out.

Read the full document here (in Spanish).

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