BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri said on Thursday that the Argentine courts need to become “more efficient, more accessible” to reduce public frustration with the justice system.
The judiciary must be able “to provide answers,” Macri said as he signed an agreement delineating the respective jurisdictions of the federal court system and the local courts in Buenos Aires.
The accord will allow capital residents access to courts whose judges are appointed by the municipal legislature rather than the federal Congress, as is currently the case.
Macri noted that two years after the death of federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, authorities have yet to determine whether he took his own life or was murdered.
Court cases that drag on for decades “bring a lot of frustration, a lot of resentment and anger, and they do not fit with this stage in Argentina,” the president said.
Nisman died on Jan. 18, 2015, hours before he was due to brief Congress about his accusation that then-President Cristina Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and five other people tried to conceal the involvement of Iran in a deadly 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires.
The 51-year-old prosecutor died of a single shot to the temple, fired at point-blank range from a .22-caliber pistol that was found under his body in the bathroom of his apartment. Nisman, who had a 10-person police security detail, borrowed the gun from a colleague.
The 1994 car bombing at the offices of the AMIA organization killed 85 people.
Several different judges have dismissed Nisman’s cover-up allegations against Fernandez, Timerman – a prominent member of the Jewish community – and the others as baseless.
Many in the Argentine Jewish community believe the AMIA bombing was ordered by Iran and carried out by Tehran’s Hezbollah allies.
Both the Iranian government and the Lebanese militia group deny any involvement and the accusation relies heavily on information provided by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
Prosecutors have yet to secure a single conviction in the case.
In September 2004, 22 people accused in the bombing were acquitted after a process plagued with delays, irregularities and tales of witnesses’ being paid for their testimony.