Although since the beginning of the year Judge Julia Emma Garzón de Gómez had been serving as president of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, a task that normally takes place for a year, it was known that “for personal reasons” she resigned the presidency of the room, and in his place was Alejandro Meza Cardales, who was the vice president.
Garzón’s resignation comes just days after the Constitutional Court, upon ruling on a guardianship, clarified that the Disciplinary Chamber must cease to exist and set up, before the end of the year, the Judicial Discipline Commission with new magistrates.
The fact is that the Disciplinary Chamber – which disciplines the country’s judges, lawyers and prosecutors – was eliminated in 2015 with the balance of powers reform. However, the Council of State had overturned the calls of the President of the Republic and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (formerly the Administrative Chamber), so that two magistrates of the Chamber screwed themselves into their posts and passed their constitutional terms.
Also, Through internal elections, during all this time they selected another 5 interim magistrates to complete the room, robes who were not elected by Congress, as established by law.
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It is precisely about Julia Emma Garzón and Pedro Alonso Sanabria, both have been in their offices for 12 years, despite the fact that the Constitution says that the terms of magistrates are 8 years. They, in addition, have been taking turns presiding over the Disciplinary Chamber all these years.
In fact, although the Constitutional Court did not mention them directly in its decision a few days ago, the magistrate who presented the case, Gloria Ortiz, said: “The Constitutional Court found that the terms of magistrates of the high courts have an imperative term of eight years, a term whose extension is unconstitutional (…). The extension of these periods by means of interpretation produces unconstitutional effects ”.
On August 28, a day after the decision on the Judicial Discipline Commission and the unconstitutionality of the extension of the term of a magistrate, this media asked the Disciplinary Chamber if magistrates Garzón and Sanabria would pronounce on the matter and if they would resign their charges, based on the decision of the Court.
The answer at that time, delivered by the Chamber’s press office, was that the magistrates were “waiting for the statement to come out or they will send them the ruling, since they do not know the minutia of it.” The decisions of the Constitutional Court generate effects from the publication of the communiqué.
This week the statement of the high court on the issue was known, EL TIEMPO again asked the Disciplinary Chamber for its position and the new response was that the Justices Garzón and Sanabria need to know the complete ruling, not the statement, to make a pronouncement.
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