The accusation of late Prosecutor Alberto Nisman against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other high ranking officials from her administration will be investigated by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio starting today. His colleague Ariel Lijo was in charge of it, but Bonadio requested it be sent to him because he had been previously investigating a related case.
Although Lijo opposed his colleague’s request, the head of a Federal Court of Appeals, Martín Izurzún, sided with Bonadio and determined he will continue investigating whether the former president covered up Iran’s role in the AMIA Jewish Center bombing in exchange for trade deals, as Nisman claimed four days before being found dead with a single gunshot to the head.
The circumstances of his death are still unclear and prompted a separate investigation which overlaps with his accusation in areas because last year the Supreme Court determined that regardless of how he died — suicide or homicide — it happened as consequence of his role as prosecutor investigating the AMIA case.
Former Kirchnerite Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, Legal and Technical Secretary Carlos Zannini and head of the AFI Intelligence Oscar Parrilli are some of the other officials who were also accused by the late prosecutor.
Nisman was certain that the signing of the so called Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) — which among other things established a relationship with the Iranian commission to investigate the AMIA attack — really intended to cover up the responsibility of the Iranian officials in exchange for trade agreements. The MOU, however, never saw the light of day. An Argentine appeals court declared it to be unconstitutional and once the Macri administration — which was always against it — took office, decided not to appeal the decision.
Nisman’s accusation was put into a state of limbo over the last two years, a result of the decision from a federal judge and an appeals court to dismiss it, arguing the evidence wasn’t even conclusive to begin an investigation. Last December, a Cassation Court decided otherwise and reopened it. In February, Judge Ariel Lijo and Prosecutor Eduardo Pollicita ordered the first probes and now it will be up to Bonadio to continue the investigation.
The former president is almost certainly far from being pleased with this turn of events, considering that she has a particular animosity towards judge Bonadio. He has already indicted her in two other cases — the so called “Future Dollars” and “Los Sauces — in which she was accused of corruption during her time in office.
She argues that these investigations don’t actually have evidence to support the claims and that Bonadio is one of the judges in charge of pushing what she calls a judicial persecution against her, orchestrated by her political enemies who want to see her behind bars.