Harry Diaz in The Middle Of A Surprise Volley

Sunday, June 09 2013 @ 01:23 pm EDT

Contributed by: Anonymous

In less than a month Harry Diaz, Vice Magistrate of the Supreme Court became the target of six lawsuits.

The legal community is in astonishment, as for one moment it seemed the situation was taking a turn for the best in the highest levels of the Judicial Branch; however, the six lawsuits took everyone by surprise.

Five of the lawsuits claim Diaz's appointment was unconstitutional, and attack the resolution through which the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, appointed him.

This is the Cabinet Decree No. 68 of April 20, 2011, and the last lawsuit questions the ratification of the position by the National Assembly.


The claims were filed between mid-March and early April. These were 22 days of legal volley. The former Procurator-General, Rogelio Cruz, presented two on March 18, 2013; three were filed 11 days later, on March 29. The lawyers were Rolando Sanchez Nunez, Yamilka Pitty and Melissa Jeanette. The last one was filed 11 days later, on April 9, 2013, by the lawyer Rosendo Rivera. The latter represents the president Ricardo Martinelli and others linked to the government party, in cases of defamation against political opponents and the media.

The essence of the legal resources retake an issue previously raised back in 2011, when the President Martinelli had to seek a replacement for Jose Abel Almengor in the Supreme Court.


The lawsuits are based on the violation from the Cabinet Council of paragraph 2 from the article 203 of the Constitution, which states: 'No person shall be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court who is exercising or has held positions with authority and jurisdiction of the Executive Body during the ongoing constitutional term.'

Both Diaz and the team of advisers from the Executive Branch denied there was any legal offense, however two years later it seems many from the legal community think otherwise.

The argument is based on Harry Diaz appearing in 13 resolutions of the Cabinet in which he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Finance during the administration of Martinelli in May 2010.

This, according to the organizational chart of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and judgments from the Dispute Tribunal, would represent the functions of an officer with authority and jurisdiction.


The issue has been in the hands of the group's newest judge, Jose Ayu Prado, who is the rapporteur of the case after the Criminal Chamber of the Court decided to join the unconstitutionality suits.

However, the key of this issue is the time it will take the Court to resolve these mishaps for Diaz. 'It is the responsibility of the plenary to define this as quickly as possible,' says Esmeralda de Troitino, former magistrate of the Supreme Court. 'They should have a priority decision to avoid affecting the image of the judiciary system, she adds.

Troitino believes this is not easy for the magistrates. 'These are decisions that sometimes are difficult, but those are the challenges of the position' she says.

The important thing for her is that the Plenary of the Court defines the situation. 'It has to be resolved. It questions the legitimacy of the actions of the judge and there is no certainty of the validity of those actions, said Troitino. (Estrella)

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