Legal challenges to new security decree laws
Constitutional lawyer, Cesar Bolivar Pedreschi representing The Citizen’s Democratic Network presented four lawsuits before the Supreme ...
Constitutional lawyer, Cesar Bolivar Pedreschi representing The Citizen’s Democratic Network presented four lawsuits before the Supreme Court against the decree laws promoted by the President of the Republic, Martin Torrijos and the Minister of Government and Justice, Daniel Delgado Diamante.
According to Dr. Pedreschi the security laws violate article 310 of the national constitution, that says that the Panamanian State will not have an army.
The aim of the legal action is to prevent the National Assembly from approving the creation of the Border Police Service, the Air and Naval Service, the restructuring of the Institutional Protection Service and the reform of article 41 of the National Police law that would allow a soldier to become chief of that institution.
Pedreschi said that the laws are tainted, unconstitutional and designed to bring the military era back with their total disregard of human rights of Panamanians and foreigners alike.
The lawyer said that he is confident that the Supreme Court judges will analyze the lawsuits.
The International Transparency president, Angelica Maytín said her organization is giving a vote of confidence to the judges. For them this is a trial by fire.
Meanwhile the Panameñista presidential candidate, Juan Carlos Varela said that he supports the Citizens Democratic Network’s decision and its lawyer to interpose the lawsuits, because they are infringing on the rights of the Panamanians.
Members of private enterprises like Enrique de Obarrio, former president of the Executive of Enterprise Association, mass media owners and representatives of the Citizens Network were present.
Since their inception the security laws have caused a great deal of discomfort among the civil groups, who feel that the legislation was not properly discussed in a public forum.
Minister Delgado Diamante only gave citizens a month to examine the laws and give their input, but for many that was not good enough.
According to him, their prompt approval was necessary to be able to face the insecurity that has plagued the country over the last few years.
Delgado Diamante is a firm believer that the only way to combat crime is by giving the National Police the appropriate tools and powers to do its job.
Civil associations have been protesting against the laws for the last three months and they are determined to have them repealed as soon as possible, on the grounds that human rights, democracy and freedom are worth fighting for. The lawsuits are a means to that end.