Judicial efficiency in Argentina is significantly lacking. The country ranks 169th out of 178 countries studied regarding their economic freedom. The people of Argentina are considered economically repressed based on the wrong rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency and lack of open markets. Of the most concern is the corruption and inefficiency of the judicial system. The 2016 Heritage Index of Economic Freedom notes “corruption plagues Argentine society, and scandals are common…The justice system is burdened by scores of tenured but incompetent and corrupt judges. The lower courts are highly politicized, although the Supreme Court maintains relative independence despite intense pressure from the government.” Bribery, forgery, theft, and many other corrupt actions take place every day in the Argentine judicial system (The Heritage Foundation).
The political structure that allows the judicial and executive branches to be also intertwined provides a backdrop for corruption. Many judges were appointed to their positions by lawmakers which creates a conflict of interest. When these lawmakers or people close to them come through the court system either for corruption charges or other offenses they typically do not receive a sentence as they are the ones who were instrumental in the employment of that judge. Also, judges overseeing important cases may be offered political jobs, further developing the corruption seen in Argentine courts. A study of the corruption in Argentina has found that cases involving corruption take 14 years on average to be finalized. Out of a total 750 corruption cases analyzed, only 15 suspects were convicted of their crimes (The Heritage Foundation).
Balancing the judicial inefficiencies and corruption is the political environment in Argentina. In presidential elections in November 2015, Mauricio Macri, the center-right politician, beat Daniel Scioli. Scioli was the hand-picked replacement of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Macri won greatly due to his promises to “end abuses that have plagued Argentina’s political and economic environments, including fiscal profligacy, labor unrest, rising protectionism, corruption, and expropriations.” Argentina is a land that should benefit from it’s natural resources and the people who live there are both educated and sophisticated. With these benefits, the country should be thriving, but it was failed to do so. Peronist authoritarianism and a wide variety of strategic missteps have led to the corruption of government and judicial systems. These mistakes include continued hold over the Falkland Islands and a miscarriage to make arrangements with creditors, leading the country to fail to make payments on reorganized debt. “These mistakes have positioned Argentina outside the mainstream of the international community” (The Heritage Foundation).
To assist Argentine judicial corruption the international community must support the country’s efforts. The country enacted the Anti-Corruption Office but will not be able to eradicate the problem by itself. Argentina is connected to other countries by the Interamerican Convention Against Corruption of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Convention Against Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Transactions. These conventions strive to change experiences from ones of corruption to ones of efficiency as well as set specific standards. The Anti-Corruption Office works to apply these standards to the international community’s guidelines. They do this by remaining in contact with the OAS, OECD, The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, The World Bank, and the Interamerican Development Bank. It is these international organizations that will be able to provide the support that the country needs to return to efficient judicial systems (de Michele).
- de Michele, Roberto. “The Role of the Anti-Crruption Office in Argentina.” The Journal of Pubic Inquiry (2001): 17-21. Print.
- The Heritage Foundation. Argentina. 2016. Web. 10 April 2016.