Argentina’s 1853 National Constitution and the 1994 amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure both guarantee a right to a trial by jury, yet the Argentine Congress has failed to pass the necessary legislation to establish a national jury system. However, nothing has stopped the individual provinces from creating their own systems for public participation. In the 1990’s, the province of Córdoba implemented mixed juries. The Neuquén province successfully implemented an even more advanced jury system in 2011. In recent years, this has created a snowball effect, with Buenos Aires, Chaco, and at least three other provinces following suit in quick succession.
The implementation of a trial by jury system has caused mixed reactions in Argentina, which has a historically inquisitorial legal system. This inquisitorial background has historically caused significant resistance to the establishment of jury trials. Critics are concerned that allowing 12 jurors to share responsibilities with the judge will lead to a greater decentralization of power, and more uncertain and unfair trial results. Proponents of the recent legislation argue that the decentralization of power is a positive change that should be embraced, as the judiciary is the only branch of the state government without public participation.
I will argue that, based on Argentina’s history and the current public sentiment in the country, as well as a comparison to the jury system of the United States, the establishment of a trial by jury is a step in the right direction, which will lead other provinces, and eventually the national legislature, to follow suit.
Chasing Democracy: The Development and Acceptance of Jury Trials in Argentina,
47 U. MIA Inter-Am. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.miami.edu/umialr/vol47/iss2/8