Carmen Maria Argibay

Carmen Argibay ( Buenos Aires , 15 of June of 1939 – Buenos Aires , October of maypole of 2014 2 ) was minister of the Supreme Court of Argentina . He defined himself as a militant atheist , understanding that the term “militant” referred to honesty to his beliefs, not by imposition of these. With regard to the issue of abortion , he maintained a position taken in favor of his decriminalization. Due to these positions, it was object of criticism by certain sectors of the society. In 2008 he received the Konex Prize (Merit Diploma) as one of the five most outstanding judges of the decade in Argentina.

Career before the Supreme Court

Argibay studied at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires , and received her law the November of June of 1964 . He worked in several public courts and taught law in many universities, until 1976 . On March 24 of that year, the coup d’etat gave rise to the military dictatorship self -proclaimed National Reorganization Process . The military junta arrested her, without charges against her, and held her in prison until December. After obtaining his liberty he dedicated himself to the private practice of the lawyer .

Already during the democratic government of Raul Alfonsin , the 7 of June of 1984 , he was named judge. It was promoted in 1988 and again in 1993 . He retired on 1 as January as 2002 .

Argibay was a member of the International Association of Criminal Law and a founding member of the International Association of Women Judges , which she presided over from 1998 to 2000. She also founded the Association of Women Judges of Argentina .

She was a member of the International Women’s Tribunal on War Crimes for the Prosecution of Sexual Slavery, which condemned the Japanese army in December 2000 for crimes committed during World War II , where women from different countries were subjected to sexual slavery.

In June 2001 she was appointed by the United Nations General Assembly as a judge ad litem in the International Criminal Court to judge war crimes in the former Yugoslavia ( ICTY by its initials in English )

Nomination to the Supreme Court

Argibay was one of the first people appointed to join the Supreme Court when President Néstor Kirchner made the political decision to carry out a renewal in that court. It was proposed by the President, due to the consideration that was had of her in the international scope, the 30 of December of 2003 . The Senate of Argentina approved his appointment on 7 of July of 2004 . Some members of this body, partly pressured by the bishops of their respective provinces, resisted their appointment because of their atheistic status and their pro-abortion position. 3 became a member of the Court on 3 of February of 2005 , 4 once he had finished his duties at the ICTY. She was the first woman to be nominated by a democratic government to join the highest court of justice in Argentina ( Elena Highton , the second, was later nominated but admitted to the Court earlier). The first woman designated minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation was Margarita Arguas . He held the position between October 1970 and May 1973, but his designation was made by General Levingston , a de facto president and obviously without following the constitutional mechanisms.

The nomination of Argibay had a strong resistance from some sectors of society, particularly the more conservative part of the Catholic Church , after she declared that she was politically closer to the left than to the right , that she was a militant atheist , and Which supported the right of women to decide on their own body . To these sectors Argibay replied:

I think that to say what one is or think straight reveals honesty, which is the first step to equanimity. My beliefs should not interfere with the judicial decisions I make.

Argibay was a champion of women’s rights and stood out for projects against trafficking in women and advocated contraception to prevent abortions and unwanted pregnancies. He also argued that a policy of sex education in schools should be created. In 2007, Judge Carmen Argibay won the Gruber Justice Award (jointly with Chilean judge Carlos Cerda and Peruvian international lawyer Monica Feria Tinta) for her work on promoting gender equality and eliminating corruption in the judicial system .

When the Supreme Court of Justice ruled the nullity of the Indulgences made by Carlos Menem , Carmen Argibay voted in dissent and maintained the validity of the pardons. He said about it in a report:

“It happens that in this case, there are two constitutional principles at stake: on the one hand, the right to the truth of the victims and, on the other hand, is res judicata, which is the fundamental guarantee of people not to be prosecuted Twice for the same offense. For me, this last principle has preeminence because it is the foundation of the very existence of the Judicial Branch. I also believe that the rights of the victims are very respectable but, in my opinion, that guarantee passes exclusively for the right to the truth, which is not affected because that judgment, just the same, will follow. But the two principles have the same rank and there comes the conflict. ” 5

Argibay died on Saturday, May 10 of 2014 victim of a pulmonary emphysema that was foiled in his later years with the addition of other diseases such as heart and blood vessel through which had to be operated, years ago, by angioplasty in heart and leg by cardiologist Interventionist Luis De la Fuente at the Diagnostic Institute in 2008 and 2012 respectively. 6


  1. Back to top↑ Argibay goes to court after a heated debate in the Senate
  2. Back to top↑ Death of Supreme Court Justice Carmen Argibay
  3. Back to top↑ Argibay goes to court after a heated debate in the Senate
  4. Back to top↑ “Radiography of the Supreme Court of Justice” . Accessed on June 11, 2013 .
  5. Back to top↑ Carmen Argibay: the law above the ideas themselves. Report to Carmen Argibay in 2007 . Published in The Nation of 18-5-2014. Access 22-5-2014
  6. Back to top↑ «Supreme Court: Judge Argibay could resign for reasons of health» . The Online Policy. November 2, 2012 . Accessed November 5, 2012 .