Bukele's Legislative Assembly Ousts Supreme Court Magistrates and Attorney General

5/4/2021

In its first plenary session, El Salvador’s recently-elected Legislative Assembly, controlled by the government-aligned party, Nuevas Ideas, set aside constitutional procedure in removing five magistrates of the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber and substituting them with judges loyal to President Nayib Bukele.

Minutes later, the Assembly removed Attorney General Raúl Melara and replaced him with former lead prosecutor for organized crime, Rodolfo Delgado. Both are efforts to remove the last institutional checks on the president’s power since he took office in 2019, and whose party notched a blistering victory, one vote short of a supermajority.

Various legal experts have called what happened a technical coup d’etat. Amnesty International, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Due Process of Law Foundation are among the organizations who have condemned the removal of the magistrates.

Diego García Sayán, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, condemned the “steps taken by the seat of power to dismantle and weaken the judicial independence of the magistrates and dismiss the members of the Constitutional Chamber.”

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Outlet: 
El Faro