Independence in the Judiciary

Conectas calls for disciplinary proceedings to be dropped against Judge Kenarik Boujikian

Conectas expresses solidarity with Kenarik Boujikian, a judge serving on the São Paulo State Court, who faces the risk of being removed from office for issuing release warrants for 10 people who had spent more time in pre-trial detention than the sentences that were eventually passed.

The complaint against the judge sets a serious precedent against the independence of the São Paulo state judiciary. It is an attempt at ideological control and retaliation against a judge who, using the prerogatives of her position, did nothing more than uphold the law.

Boujikian acted to end illegal imprisonment and, in doing so, she protected the Constitution, the public treasury and the rights of these people. However, she also crossed colleagues who view mass incarceration as a security policy. One cannot allege any violation of the “principle of collegiality”, as the complaint calling for disciplinary proceedings does, since the judge’s decisions do not preclude the future examination of the cases by the other state court judges.

The Justice and Human Rights Articulation (JusDh) network submitted a statement to the inspector general of the court denouncing that the complaint is an attack on judicial independence. “Judge Boujikian has a long record of commitment to constitutional principles, fundamental rights, transparency and dialogue with civil society,” reads the document.

The case is an example of how the lack of transparency and regulation in the appointment of auxiliary judges has permitted the ideological control of judges and it demonstrates the need for the democratization of the Judiciary, which should be open to social participation and public scrutiny.

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