National Judicial Council) and the
Academia de la Magistratura
(National Judicial Academy) and the
election of lower level judges. This Constitution also created the autonomous
Defensoria del Pueblo
(Ombudsman), and made important changes in the electoral system.
Political Manipulation of the Judiciary
Since Fujimori's reelection in 1995, with another parliamentary majority, the Executive and Congress
have exerted control over the Judiciary. In 1996, the majority in Congress passed a law requiring the
Constitutional Tribunal (CT) to obtain six votes out of seven in order to declare a law unconstitutional.
This would clear the way for the Congress to pass laws of arguable constitutionality and assure their
enforcement, as it would be much harder for the CT to obtain enough votes to overturn such laws. Since
members of the CT are appointed by a two thirds majority of Congress, the Government is assured a
quota of magistrates sympathetic with its political objectives and sufficient in number to check any
Tribunal decision contrary to such objectives.
The most notorious manipulations of the Judicial Branch have been those measures aimed at clearing the
way for Fujimori's second reelection. In August 1996, the Congress passed the Law of Authentic
Interpretation of Article 112 of the Constitution, which classified the 1995 2000 term as Fujimori's first
term, allowing the President to run for reelection again in 2000. The passing of this constitutionally
suspect law set the parameters for the political debate for the next three years, creating an atmosphere of
polarization and continuous legal argument.
Congress also adopted a series of measures to promote reelection and control the various agencies
involved in elections. Examples include:
Dismissing three Constitutional Tribunal judges who declared the law authorizing a new presidential
Passing a law to increase the number of the Supreme Court judges and Attorney General magistrates
to include the votes of the provisional and substitute members. Since it was these judges' task to
designate the representatives to the National Electoral Board (
Jurado Nacional de Elecciones
JNE), the intention was to influence the composition of that electoral organ.
Suspending, temporarily, the authority of the National Judicial Council to name regular judges and
curtailing their powers to punish judges. This usurping of the Council's functions prompted all of its
members to resign in protest in March 1998. Some weeks later, the director of the National Judicial
Academy resigned as well.
Limiting the public right to submit to referendum the abolishment of laws, just when a proposal of
popular consultation regarding the controversial new law permitting presidential reelection was to be
Modifying the JNE voting system in regard to challenges submitted against individual candidates
), which would make it more difficult for challenges to Fujimori's candidacy to prosper.
The curtailing of the Public Ministry s powers, after a change in personnel.
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