At a time in which a fair amount of press is being directed at transparency and fairness in Argentina’s judiciary, Pope Francis today denounced corruption as one of the “greatest evils” in the world and warned judges and prosecutors not to be lured by it.
The Pope spoke at the Vatican’s Science Academy in the context of a two-day seminar on human trafficking and organized crime attended by judges and prosecutors from more than 10 countries, including our very own Argentina.
“One of the greatest evils of today is corruption, which weakens all governments, participatory democracy and the activity of judges. It is your job to be just and I ask that special attention be given to human trafficking […] and when faced with organized crime I ask that you not get lured by corruption,” said Pope Francis.
The Pope seems to be getting more and more involved in international politics, and certainly regarding Argentina, despite having initially kept his distance: some of the latest examples include receiving the head of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Hebe de Bonafini and denouncing the mafia in Buenos Aires Province. This apparent trend was also reflected in his speech:
“The old adage […] that the Church should not get involved in politics does not apply. The Church must get involved in big politics,” said the Pope, to applause.
Among the Argentines present at the seminar were the head of the Supreme Court, Ricardo Lorenzetti, and Federal Judge Sebastián Casanello, who has recently been accused of corruption himself regarding the Lázaro Báez Case, the purported money laundering scheme unofficially known as the “K Money Trail” which may implicate many high profile public officials such as former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Judicial impartiality has also been an important issue these last few months in Argentina. Many believe that a lot of high-ranking judges have historically ruled in ways to benefit certain politicians or parties depending on their political leanings (or for other more nefarious reasons, such as money, of course). For instance, Judge Claudio Bonadio who is presiding over the future dollars case — another investigation in which Cristina is implicated — is known for being staunchly anti-Kirchnerite and in fact has been removed from cases in the past for his lack of impartiality. On the other end of the spectrum, recently retired Judge Norberto Oyarbide has been suspected of ruling in favor of individuals friendly to the Kirchner administration.
Back in April, Macri called for judicial transparency and impartiality while speaking at the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)’s annual dinner.