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Signs of ‘Lawfare’ in Uruguay as President Faces Court Inquiry

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80520
Category/Department: Uruguay
Date: 2018-02-09
By: Andrés Gaudín

The historically harmonious relationship between Uruguay’s three branches of government is being put to the test, strangely enough, by a minor incident involving a brief appearance by President Tabaré Vázquez at an end-of-year party in the club of the governing Frente Amplio (Broad Front, FA) coalition. Vázquez has done his best to contain the controversy and yet finds himself at odds with Uruguay’s top court, the Suprema Corte de Justicia (SCJ), which characterized an off-the-cuff remark he made at the FA gathering as a violation of the constitutional imperative that bars current heads of state from engaging in “electoral proselytizing.” Three months earlier, the SCJ had delivered another surprise when it ruled that the statute of limitations should apply in a case involving crimes against humanity. In doing so—by treating the case as if it were a common criminal matter—the high court ignored international human rights jurisprudence to which the country and the Vázquez administration, by extension, subscribe. For some observers, the president’s suddenly complicated relationship with the high court mirrors developments in a number of other countries.

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