Argentine senate votes to remove Kirchner-case judges

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina's senate has voted to remove three judges from corruption cases against Vice President Cristina Kirchner in a session boycotted by the opposition, the Congress said Thursday.

The judges needed the ratification of the government-controlled senate to remain in their current positions, but the vote means they will now be transferred to other courts and thus removed from the Kirchner cases.

The three judges said they intended to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Opposition senator Martin Lousteau criticized the vote before leaving the session late Wednesday, held by teleconference because of coronavirus restrictions in Buenos Aires.

"Today's agenda is to remove three judges who are hearing cases involving the vice president," said Lousteau.

Leftist President Alberto Fernandez introduced a judicial reform package in July that will expand the number of federal courts in an effort to reduce the power and influence of federal judges who are widely accused of making politically motivated decisions.

The reforms have been rejected by the opposition, who argue they are designed to weaken the judiciary and allow Kirchner to control corruption cases against her.

Fernandez's Frente de Todos coalition enjoys a comfortable majority in the senate.

Kirchner, facing trial in nine separate corruption cases stemming from her 2007-2015 terms as Argentina's president, is currently vice president to Fernandez.

She has asserted that the cases against her amount to political persecution.