Pedro Castillo: 3 questions to understand the unprecedented constitutional complaint against the President of Peru and doubts about whether it is legal
- Norberto Paredes and Guillermo de Olmo
- BBC News World
Peru is undergoing a new political crisis, after the country’s attorney general, Patricia Benavides, filed a constitutional complaint against President Pedro Castillo for leading an alleged criminal organization, among other charges.
Castillo “categorically” denied the accusations made to Congress and accused the attorney general’s office of acting “politically”, claiming they had no evidence against him.
He also confirmed that he would not seek asylum and would not leave his country, and reiterated that he was a victim of “political persecution”.
The president even went so far as to call “A new kind of coupComplaint against former ministers Juan Silva (Transportation and Communications) and Jenner Alvarado (Housing, Construction and Sanitation).
But the prosecution defends her and asserts that she is trying to achieve justice after the illegal use of presidential powers.
Regardless of whether or not Castillo was guilty of the crimes attributed to him, various voices, including prominent jurists, have questioned the legitimacy of the process now underway by which Congress could remove Castillo from power.
Peruvian political analyst Omar Oapara describes the situation in his country as delicate and unprecedented.
“It’s unpublished That the incumbent president has six investigations open, and never before has a constitutional complaint been filed against an incumbent president.”
“Everything we are going through is relatively unprecedented. Especially in terms of the judicialization of politics and the more effective participation of judicial bodies in a struggle of this kind.”
Here we summarize in 3 new keys political crisis The country in South America lives.
1. What is impeachment?
According to the Attorney General’s Office, a constitutional complaint is a procedure that allows for the determination of whether persons with immunity (such as the president and members of Congress) have committed crimes in the exercise of their functions, such as abuse of power or corruption.
it’s about First time In Peru the figure is used against the acting president.
But the Peruvian government maintains that the current initiative is inconsistent with the constitution.
Peru’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Felix Ciro, denounced the existence of “systematic plan to remove President Pedro Castillo from office.”
Ciro cited Article 117 of the Peruvian constitution to make clear that the investigations Castillo was subjected to were not sufficient grounds to impeach the president.
Peruvian political analyst Omar Oapara defends this point. “The Prosecutor’s Office can investigate, but You can’t impeach the president Except for very specific cases that are not being met now.”
Article 117 of the Constitution states that the President of Peru can only be indicted during his term of office for the following reasons: treason against the country, prevention of elections of any kind, and dissolution of Congress except in the cases provided for in Article 134.
According to the Peruvian Magna Carta law, the president can also be charged with preventing the meeting or work of Congress, the National Elections Arbitration Committee and other electoral system bodies.
Lawyers consulted by BBC Mundo agreed that the constitution prevents Castillo from being charged with crimes not mentioned in Article 117.
For Domingo García Belandi, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Constitutional Committee of the Peruvian Congress, “This complaint will likely be shelved until the president ceases to hold office.”
Along the same lines, it was said Omar Cairoprofessor of constitutional law at the Pontifical Political University of Peru, for whom “a complaint is unconstitutional because the attorney general’s office seeks to prosecute the president for offenses not listed in Article 117.”
But the attorney general’s office argues that the complaint is protected by Article 99 of Peru’s constitution, which authorizes Congress to charge the president and other high-ranking officials with “any crime they commit in the exercise of their functions,” and by United Nations Convention against corruption.
The attorney general’s office and Castillo’s critics maintain that constitutional protections for the president cannot serve to protect corrupt practices.
García Belandi believes that while it has not thrived in Congress, the attorney general’s complaint “has a tremendous political impact because there are more and more indications of widespread corruption.”
2. Why is it being used now?
The attorney general’s office has opened six preliminary investigations into Castillo, ranging from promotions in the armed forces to work allegedly awarded illegally.
The Peruvian president and his defenders insist that there is no the exams.
But the attorney general’s office says it has found “extremely dangerous and revealing” indications of a criminal network led by Castillo in the government and accuses its alleged members of carrying out a “vicious obstruction of justice”.
Castillo was criticized at the end of August for Replace the police dome Nationalafter anti-corruption agents and prosecutors raided the government headquarters in search of the president’s sister-in-law, Ynifer Paredes, who was accused by the Ministry of Public Affairs of being part of the corruption network allegedly led by the president and his wife, Lilia Paredes.
“The government’s attempts to prevent this from moving forward and acts of obstruction of justice have served somewhat as a pretext to indict the president now,” explains political analyst Omar Owapara.
3. What next?
After the constitutional complaint is submitted by the attorney general’s office, it must be analyzed by the Congressional Subcommittee on Constitutional Charges, which must open an investigation and prepare a report.
If the subcommittee pleads guilty to the charge against it presidentthe process will start will be called to the Legislative Council to present its defence. The Office of the Prosecutor will also participate, as the complainant, as well as experts and witnesses.
The report issued by Congress must then be put to a vote, and in order to proceed, it must obtain more than half of the votes of the members of Congress.
If approved, the public prosecutor may file a criminal complaint against Castillo before the High Court of Justice.
Owapara doubts the complaint will be voted on in Congress and if it gets to that point, he doesn’t think they will agree to it.
“It is an attempt to deal a strong and effective blow to the president in order to persuade members of Congress who have not yet voted for the vacant presidency to do so. But I don’t think it worked“, Confirms.
However, Professor Cairo points out a third method that could lead to Castillo’s downfall without necessarily alluding to a criminal charge.
“Article 100 of the Constitution allows the president to be sued, not for a crime, but for a constitutional breach, such as failure to comply with the enforcement and enforcement of judgments and decisions of judicial bodies,” according to the Magna Carta orders.
The attorney general’s office maintains that Castillo hampered the investigations, but for an initiative of this nature to flourish, it would require two-thirds of Congress to vote for it, while the path initiated by the attorney general’s complaint requires only a vote of the other half.
Last year, the Peruvian Congress launched two presidential runs against Pedro Castillo, who took office just one year and three months ago.
Neither process was possible to gather a qualified majority equal to two-thirds of the total of the 130 members of Congress, or 87 votes in favor, to impeach the president.
“The constitution defends the president, but many believe this may be a political move by the opposition to gather votes for a vacancy,” Owapara says.
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