Afp and Reuters

La Jornada newspaper
Friday, September 3, 2021, p. 26

San Salvador. The judges of El Salvador rejected a decree of the Legislative Assembly for not respecting judicial independence by imposing a mandatory retirement on their 60th birthday, which de facto retires a third of the 690 magistrates in the country.

Judge José Alberto Franco read a ruling in which he and his colleagues affirm that the decision is unconstitutional, since the legislators do not have the power to make a decision in those terms.

The Legislative Assembly, akin to President Nayib Bukele, reformed two laws on Tuesday that will allow judges over 60 to be sent to retirement, which the magistrates considered a violation of consolidated constitutional rights such as the right to work. On the same day, Parliament amended the Organic Law of the Attorney General’s Office to remove prosecutors over 60 years of age.

The Salvadoran presidency assured that with the legislative decree the process of purging the judicial system begins. The judges, on the other hand, consider that previously established institutional mechanisms already exist that determine the way to sanction or remove magistrates and judges.

The magistrates affirmed that they will go to national and international legal instances to restore the constitutional and democratic State, seriously affected by said decree.

On May 1, the Legislative Assembly dominated by the ruling party dismissed magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and the attorney general and immediately appointed new officials.

The charge d’affaires of the US embassy in this capital, Jean Manes, said that her country is concerned about the decree. An independent judicial system and the separation of powers are vital to democracy, Manes wrote on his Twitter account.