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Minister Cordero: “Military justice is neither impartial nor independent”

The Minister of Justice, Luis Cordero, referred this morning to a debate that has taken over the judicial agenda in recent weeks: the powers of military justice in the civilian world.

This debate arose from two aspects: first, the death of a young conscript in Putre in the middle of an Army march recorded on April 27. The dispute over jurisdiction is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court, which will decide whether it is investigated by ordinary justice or by military justice.

The second point was born after some opposition parliamentarians proposed returning military justice in the draft Rules for the Use of Force that is being discussed in Congress. Specifically, in cases in which soldiers or police officers committed a crime while carrying out public order duties.

In an interview with radio Infinita, Cordero pointed out the difficulties that the legal system has in addressing civil cases. “The great criticism is that there is a consensus that military justice, as it is designed, is a justice that is neither impartial nor independent, because the military model Military judge and military prosecutor are line officials, subject to command order. And in fact the only possibility where independent judges begin to appear is in the Court Martial. But The Martial Court is made up of five members, three of which are the auditors of the Armed Forces and Carabineros and two judges of the Court of Appeals.”he explained.

“Then you have a design problem,” he added. In turn, Cordero cited the “Palamara case,” where The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Chilean State after a complaint filed by Humberto Palamara Iribarne, who in 1993, as a Navy official, tried to publish a book on military intelligence and ethical parameters. This action was prevented by the Navy arguing that it was “attacking national security”.

Codero cited those two points, impartiality and independence, to refer to the Putre case. Which justice remains with the case will be resolved in the coming days by the Supreme Court. On the other hand, to refer to the intention of a part of the opposition to restore military justice in the RUF, he said that “the proposal is technically deficient for the reasons that I have already raised.”

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