El Cronista: Nisman: One year of suspicions and no response

This Monday it will be one year, and the judiciary still hasn’t determined how the prosecutor died, hours before expanding the complaint in which he accused then-President Cristina Kirchner of negotiating impunity for Iran in the AMIA attack. Officials, intellectuals, one community leader and a prosecutor speak of the lack of results and the web of complicity of a state in the man’s debt

By Micaela Pérez

15 January 2016

A year after the death of the prosecutor Alberto Nisman, 3Dias has prepared a special section with three questions for national leaders and politicians. This is what they said.

1 Why do you think that a year after the death of prosecutor Nisman it still could not be determined whether it was a suicide or a homicide?
2 Do you think those in political power of that time have influenced the investigation to prevent progress?
3 Do you think the case will finally be solved?

Gabriela Michetti, Vice President of the Nation
“I want to believe that justice will take a turn for the truth”

1 It is very sad that a case of institutional gravity like the death of Nisman, in which both his family and the country needed greater transparency and speed in its resolution, has been handled in such a hackneyed political way and with such messiness. I must be responsible and I cannot guarantee anything about the intentions of all who were involved, but objectively it is a shame how little information we have about it. Justice also has to develop a path of change so that the answer that people need arrives a timely manner.

2 I cannot say anything. But certainly many former government officials were at least reckless in the way they referred to the issue or took action.

3 I don’t want to be a futurologist, but I’m optimistic by vocation. In Argentina many things are changing, and there is increasing room for those who want to work to make things right. I believe that the justice system, and especially those involved in this issue, will bring a shift to the investigation to get us out of the maze in which we are now, to uncover the truth, whatever it is, and give the Argentine people the tranquility that these things in our country are answered.

Mario Cimadevilla, head of the special AMIA unit
“Today there is a political power willing to help the case and no longer cover it up”

1 Indeed, the case has taken practically a year and the instruction phase, saying if we are facing a suicide, an induced suicide or a homicide, hasn’t finished yet. The judge has taken charge of the instruction, requested evidentiary measures and one can see that she will choose one of the options: investigate a homicide, suicide or induced suicide. It seems to have that intention and we must let the justice system act, complete the instruction, see what conclusions are drawn and, based on them another problem comes after: if we are dealing with a crime, we must locate those responsible.

2 I have a very critical view of the Judiciary, I expressed it when I was on the Judicial Council and wondered many times if the judiciary in Argentina is able to investigate those in power, if the judges are able to investigate those in power. A government has just departed that aimed to get justices in who were about power, not the law, not the Constitution. Just as there are upright, able, honest judges, there are many judges who felt more comfortable being powerful judges. Argentina has to aspire to achieve an efficient judiciary, because the AMIA case and the Nisman case, beyond the complexity they have, they say to you that you have an inefficient judiciary and intelligence services that do not serve you. Why could France, within 24 hours of the attack in Paris, know who the perpetrators were? Why can’t Argentina aspire to have an efficient judiciary and intelligence services to serve as they were intended to and not to spy among ourselves? Ultimately the AMIA and Nisman cases are two expressions that speak of the crisis in the judiciary, which does not serve as it should, and an intelligence service that also serves as it does.

3 We aspire to that and we will work and contribute everything we are asked for from the Executive for its clarification. When political power uses the subsidiary bodies of Justice (security forces, services …) to cover up a crime and not to investigate it, criminal investigations become complicated. Today, that paradigm has changed: there is a political power that is willing to cooperate with investigations and not cover them up, by which I am more optimistic.

Laura Alonso, head of the Anticorruption Office (OA)
“Nisman was murdered, I never had doubts”

1 For there has been complicity on the part of sectors of the Public Prosecution and the Judiciary, which were functional to the interests of the outgoing government and that was visible when the video of Nisman’s apartment came out, where we observed the prosecutor (Viviana Fein), the then-Security Secretary Sergio Berni, and other agents destroying the murder scene. Nisman was murdered, I never had doubts, and even less after seeing the performance of the justice system, which was an accomplice of the Kirchner government.

2 Definitely the political power shift had to do with the death of Nisman and interference in the judicial investigation.

3 I hope so, it’s true that his children deserve to know the truth and society is at stake, although I still have my doubts about the performance of the investigators who have been responsible all this time.

Ricardo Saenz, federal prosecutor
“I have my doubts that the full clarification of the case will come”

1 We have seen throughout this year the objective difficulties encountered by this investigation, especially due to the lack of cooperation with the prosecutor by the structure of the Attorney General’s office, and also the crusade against Nisman’s complaint and his private life, carried out by former officials whose own private and public life is now seriously put in question, with shades of it bordering on crime. However, and with the limitations that it brings to me on expressing my deep conviction on the circumstance of intervening in the criminal case of his death, I understand that one of the possible theories on the causes of his death is increasingly appearing with greater clarity.

2 It was expressed in my previous answer.

3 Due to the time that has passed, I have my doubts that the full clarification of the case will come. I refer to specific details of how the death occurred, or the discovery of the perpetrators of a possible homicide. However, as I said, I think that one of the theories is becoming clearer. In fact, the theory that most of Argentine society thinks was the one that happened.

Pilar Rahola, journalist, former Deputy Mayor of Barcelona
“Argentina can not look to the future if it has not solved the Nisman case”

1. That a year has passed since Alberto’s death and we still do not know practically anything speaks, and speaks very badly, of two estates: the Executive and the Judiciary. And given that there has been political pressure on the judiciary during all this time, I am forced to think badly. I think a year later we know nothing because the previous government did nothing to let us know. It is a shame. A disgrace for the judiciary and a stumbling block for the political arena.

2 I think that the Kirchner government did everything it could to keep this issue under wraps and, in fact, I refer to the evidence. Not that they have something to hide or not, is not what they fear, but it is clear that government did nothing for the case to be clarified. The death of Nisman is an international scandal. We are talking about a prosecutor who was investigating and that he was involved in the investigation of major terrorist attack in Latin America and also had directly accused the President on the implications with Iran, therefore, we are talking about a case that goes beyond Argentina and a year later we still know absolutely nothing, and it necessarily requires looking at the Casa Rosada and ask ourselves what they were hiding, what they were afraid of.

3 I am confident that after this disastrous period of time, where there has been such brutal political pressure on judges, the time has arrived for the judges. I think it is the time of justice, meaning that the judiciary is always a strong power, a power that knows how important democracy and the republic are, and therefore when released from excessive political pressure they could do great things. I think there’s a hunger for justice, hunger for judicial independence and so I think that this is the great moment to know exactly what happened. What happened to Alberto, what happened with the implications of the government of Cristina Kirchner with Iran, what happened with the memorandum, what spurious agreements were behind everything that represents this huge embarrassment – it’s time to know. I would be surprised and disappointed if the new Argentina doesn’t start towards its future by cleaning and dignifying the past, especially a death like this. Argentina can’t see the future if it has not solved the Nisman case.

Santiago Kovadloff, philosopher and writer
“Kirchnerism exerted influence so that there would be no progress in the investigation”

1 I think that question could not be determined because the Kirchner government not only had no need to clarify what happened, but in reality it needed that there be no clarification. The suspicion that Nisman’s death was the result of a murder finds support not only in the opinion of most of the public, but on the evidence provided to the investigation by the Nisman family’s legal team. They carried out the investigation, and it shows that it was not a suicide. In essence, why hasn’t the incident become clear? For the same reason that the AMIA bombing hasn’t became clear: because the relationship between politics and terrorism in Argentina is deep and would mean the denunciation of those responsible which would be unimaginable for most citizens.

2 Yes it exerted influenced. And part of the evidence that it exerted influenced so that the investigation was not carried forward is that the investigators were attacked, starting with Nisman himself, whose investigation did not progress (N to R: Referring to Nisman’s allegation against the President and other officials for the alleged attempt to cover up the attack on the AMIA by signing the memorandum with Iran). One thing is to show that Nisman’s theories were invalid and it’s another thing to prevent them. Having prevented the investigation is an act of unspeakable underestimation by a government.

3 I can only answer from the point of view of ethics: it is essential to fight to clarify the case and I trust that the current government deeply understands that their own future is linked to the knowledge of the truth and the rule of law.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of DAIA
“It is unacceptable that there is no response from the State over the death of Nisman”

1 I don’t know the reasons why, after the time that has passed, it is still not clear what caused the violent death of prosecutor Nisman. Clearly, not being a party to this case, we have no access to the case file, nor can we push for measures, therefore our information is provided by the media, since there is no official information on the progress of the investigation. We are very concerned about the lack of results around an event of such institutional gravity and international significance.

2 The DAIA does not make any speculation about intentions, we think and judge only based upon objective facts and the objective fact is that we noted the lack of state responses for a year after the tragic death of Alberto Nisman. Justice is again in debt to society, and this creates uncertainty and all sorts of speculation that do not contribute to the search for truth.

3 It must be clarified; it must be resolved. It is unacceptable that there is no response, a response to allay the doubts and return confidence to the Argentine people. Nisman’s family, especially his daughters, deserve that answer, like the families of the victims of the attack on the AMIA-DAIA. We need to recover the sacred value of truth and justice, and heal wounds that have caused serious damage to our social fabric.

Original Text