Valentina and the judges: in defense of Maria Clara Sottomayor | Opinion

Valentina, a serene and docile girl, died at the age of nine, apparently beaten and burned in hot water by her father, at the homes of those who lived temporarily during the detention, from where she had fled before and who had a special duty to protect it. We all wish we had the chance to save you.

Councilor Clara Sottomayor commented on Valentina’s death on Magistrate Dulce Rocha’s Facebook page, which is said to be private. On September 9, via the weekly Expresso, he learned that the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM) could impose a disciplinary sanction on the basis of the aforementioned comments, which would have generated “a wave of criticism from magistrates and lawyers. for violation of the duty of secrecy and the presumption of innocence ”. After the news broke, the CSM issued a press release to clarify the exact outline of the content of the notification it decided to make to the councilor at its plenary session on September 8, which had been wrong. reported. Finally, the advisor was formally advised of the referred decision that the CSM intended to apply an “unregistered warning sanction”.

It is perplexed that the CSM aims to apply the aforementioned sanction for any breach of the duty of confidentiality to which the member of the board of directors is legally and ethically obliged and does not ensure, at the same time, the absolutely confidential nature of the process of investigation opened for this purpose, preventing journalists’ access to reports and / or accounts that include evaluations on this subject. Weren’t the elements gathered in this process framed by a regime of secrecy aimed at protecting the reputation and professional reputation of the advisor?

Should Clara Sottomayor be considered to have been notified from the time she read the Express or from the time she received the official communication of the decision from this independent administrative body, which exercises disciplinary measures against magistrates of justice?

Other important questions arise from this open investigative process against Clara Sottomayor. How many other magistrates have, in recent years, been the subject of disciplinary sanctions for non-compliance with the duty of confidentiality? How did the CSM exercise the margin of appreciation inherent in the exercise of any disciplinary function in situations similar to those in which the adviser finds himself and which are common knowledge?

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The answer to these questions will be of no use to Valentina, deceased and nothing will bring her back from the dark night in which, in a slow agony, she entered. But other Valentinas and “unfortunate Etelvinas” (as Valentina is mistakenly referred to in one of the CSM’s reports) exist in our country and do not enjoy adequate protection under the democratic rule of law. The work of magistrates Clara Sottomayor and Dulce Rocha, tireless defenders of children’s human rights, has largely contributed to this protection. Tireless defenders of the rights of all of our children, who can, at any time, be unexpected victims of different forms of violence.

The role of the Supreme Judicial Council in this case must be closely watched by civil society because what is ultimately in question is whether, when and how a magistrate can freely express his thoughts in a democratic rule of law, in the exercise of their active citizenship, especially in situations where the human rights of the most vulnerable among us are violated.

The author writes according to the new spelling agreement

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