Comparative law and justice/Argentina
Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project
Monica10 17:22, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Flag Description: The flag has three (3) equal horizontal stripes of light blue and white. There is a bright yellow sun with a human face that is known as the the Sun of May.
Demographical Data: Argentina has a moderate demographic density. The demographic density consists of about 38 million people, who mainly reside in urban areas. Roughly half of the 38 million residents live in the Federal Capital, Buenos Aires. Below is a chart listing several types of native descendents that occupy Argentinas population rate:
- European (mainly Spanish and Italian descent).......97%
- Mestizo, Amerindian and/or other nonwhite groups....3%
Geographical Data: Argentina is located in the southern portion of South America. Argentina is the second largest country in South America; however is the eighth in the world. The countries surrounding Argentina from the north are Bolivia and Paraguay, from the east are Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean, and finally from the south of Argentina are the Atlantic Ocean and Chile.
Terrain: The fertile plains of the Pampas occupy the northern hemisphere of Argentina. The smooth to rocky plateaus of Patagonia consume the south, and the rugged Andes along western border.
Climate and Regions: Argentina has diverse landscapes throughout, below is a chart listing seven climatic regions of the beautiful country.
- Northwest: Here the climate is typically tropical. The terrain is made up of valleys, gorges, and plateaus which creates an opportunity for settlement.
- Gran Chaco: Consists mostly of forestall land and swampy ponds.
- Mesopotamia: The temperature is normally hot. The landscape consists of swampy territory.
- Cuyo: The temperature varies from hot to warm. With the availability of artificial irrigation, the land is ideal for viticulture.
- Central Sierras: The area offers dry temperatures.
- Humid Pampa: The temperature is warm. Here the fertile land provides agriculture and the opening for cattle breeding. The area is heavily populated.
- Patagonia: The area is filled with marine animals, perfect for sightseeing. The terrain is filled with plateaus and valleys.
Religion: The official religion of Argentina is Apostolic Roman Catholic. With such a large population, there are several other religions practiced in Argentina. Religious practices vary from traditional Catholicism to Protestantism, Judaism, and Islamism among many others.
Ethnic Characteristics: The roots of Argentina’s cultural and ethnic characteristics are European based. Argentina has a high level of cultural activity. The residents in Argentina have a passion for the arts and theatre. In the Federal Capital, there are about 100 cinemas and 90 theatres including the Colon Theatre which is among the top theatres in the world. The Colon Theatre offers impeccable architecture and exceptional acoustic performances.
The music of the country is the passionate and rhythmic tango. Individuals can experience its whole essence, its melodramatic lyrics and movements. Depending on the region of the country, the choice of musical preference may vary, for instance, folklore rhythms and styles. The traditional type of food is asado. Asado is a form of barbeque were the meat is cooked over live coals. Argentina has such a diverse cuisine because of its diverse population. Such diversity derives from Spanish, Chilean, German, and many other influential heritages.
Language: The official language of Argentina is Spanish. However, other languages are spoken in Argentina, such as English, Italian, French, and German.
On July 9, 1816, Argentina gained its independence from Spain. Argentina's population and cultural diversity incorporated immigrants from Europe, but mostly from Italy and Spain. From 1860 to 1930, the country’s population grew contributing to the largest percentage of newcomers. Throughout the mid 20th century, Argentina's pastimes were controlled by political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military groupings. As World War II was over, when "Peronist populism and direct and indirect military interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976." Finally, democracy returned to Argentina in 1983 after failing to seize the Falkland Islands. Argentina fell into severe economic instability in 2001 and 2002. This unfortunate instability led to aggressive protests and to successive resignations of several presidents.
Economic Development, Health, and Education
Economic Growth: Through the 1960's and 80's Argentina became a member of the Latin American Free Trade Association. In 1992, diplomatic and trade relations were reestablished with Britain. A new law was passed in 1993 that liberated the mining sector and created a dramatic increase in the industry. The American Constitution was amended in 1994 were the United States and Argentina signed an investment treaty. In 1997, The United States allowed imports of Argentine beef for the first time in six decades. This initiated a program which created several areas of free trade in order to increase trade investments. In 2002, Argentina and Brazil negotiated a new treaty that strengthened MERCOSUR. (MERCOSUR is a free trade agreement that join together Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay.)
Healthcare: The healthcare system is similar to other systems in other Latin American countries. The Department of Public Health controls National Health Policy. In 1998, there was "an estimated 108,800 physicians, 28,900 dentists, 15,300 pharmacists, 29,000 nurses, and 11,100 medical technicians.". Healthcare services for employees were provided by clinics of unions, and employers were typically required to provide free medical care for injured workers. The private sector plays a role in the provision of health services in Argentina. The private sector guarantees social security through organizations called Obras Sociales. The way that funding was raised was from employee payroll taxes and contributions.
Education: , Argentina has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, only second to Uruguay  "In 1993, Argentina switched from seven years of primary and five years of secondary education to a system known as EGB, consisting of nine compulsory years divided into three-year stages. This is followed by a three-year "multimodal" course of study offering either general or specialized training." In Argentina there are officially 46 accredited universities. The largest university in Argentina is the University of Buenos ires. Several private and religious schools are allowed,
- Chief of State: President Mauricio Macri. The President and Vice President are the head of the government.
- Vice President: Gabriela Michetti.
- Cabinet: The cabinet is chosen by the President.
- Elections: The President and Vice President are chosen on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms.
- The last election held was on October 28, 2007. The next election will be held in 2011.
- The National Congress consists of the Senate. The Senate seats 72 members whom are elected by direct vote.
- The last election for Senate was held on June 28, 2009.
- The Chamber of Deputies seats 257 members.
- Supreme Court: The Supreme Court judges are chosen by the President; however, the decision must be approved by the Senate.
- The Supreme Court consists of seven (7) judges. Congress passed a bill in 2006 to reduce the number of Supreme Court judges to five (5).
Types of Government: Argentina is a republic. There are three levels of government, federal, provincial, and local.
Legal System: The legal system in Argentina is a mixture of United States and European legal systems.
Constitution: Argentina's constitution was created on May 1, 1853. The Constitution has been amended several times beginning in 1860.
Voting Eligibility: The voting age is 16 and voting is compulsory and universal.
Argentina follows a diffuse model of judicial review. A diffuse model of judicial review is when " a country's entire judiciary has the duty of constitutional control with the potential inconsistency of decisions being lessened through stare decisis or a structural equivalent." In Argentina's constitution, Section 31 states that the constitution and the laws that are approved by Congress are "the supreme law of the Nation" (Argentina Constitution, 1998.) Also, Section 116 grants the Supreme Court and other inferior courts permission to observe cases related to the Constitution and congressional laws.
In Argentina's appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Justice observes two kinds of appeal. For "ordinary" appeals the Supreme court reviews certain decisions made by the National Chamber of Appeals. The second type of appellate jurisdiction is "extraordinary" appeals, this supplys Argentina's special procedures for judicial review.
Courts and Criminal Law
Judges: Argentina has both federal and provincial courts. The Supreme Court in Argentina consists of seven (7) judges. The judges have the power to declare any legislative acts as unconstitutional and are considered the central element of the trial process. This privilege first began in 1854. Supreme Court judges are selected by the President of Argentina with the approval of the country's Senate. Federal courts are categorized according to the nature of the cause. There are civil, criminal, family, and commercial courts. Federal judges are also chosen by the President, with the recommendations of the magistrates council.
Juries: No jury system.
Lawyers: Licensed lawyers in Argentina are known as Abogados. Legal practitioners are trained by attending law school and by participating in a five-year law program.
Presumption of Guilt or Innocence: The trials in Argentina are public and defendants have the right to legal counsel and to call defense witnesses. A panel of judges decides whether the criminal is guiltily or innocence.
Structure of the Argentine Court System:
Federal Court System
- The Supreme Court
- 17 Appellate Courts
- The District and the Territorial Courts
In this court system the Attorney General and the Official Defender are the lead administrators of the Public Ministry.
Provincial Court System
- The Supreme Court
- Appellate Courts
- Lower Courts: There are three (3) types of courts. They are civil, criminal, and labor courts.
Verdicts can be appealed to the Provincial Supreme court or Superior Tribunal of Justice.
Typical Punishment: In Argentina, there have not been recent events of capital punishment (hanging, firing squad, torture, or flogging.)
Capital Data Information: Under the penal system, the Global Press states, "corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. Article 18 of the Constitution (1994) abolishes whipping and any kind of torture." On August 7, 2008 the Argentine Senate approved a law repealing the 1951 Military Code of Justice. This new law abolished the death penalty for all crimes committed, even those committed in times of armed conflict on in peace resolution by the armed forces. As many countries abolished the death penalty and Argentina was the tenth (10th) country to do so. On September 5, 2008 the government ratified the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty. The last execution that took place in Argentina was in 1916.
Imprisonment Rate: Argentina's national imprisonment ranking is 71. The prison population is 54,472 and prisoners per 100,000 people is 140.
Prison Conditions: The living conditions in Argentina's prisons are inhumane and unsanitary. One prison in particular is Mendoza. In this prison there is a lack of food and an insufficient availability of water. There are not enough mattresses for the prisoners, and the few existing ones are of horrible quality. Prisoners are contained in their cells for long periods of time. In Mendoza there is a lack of medical staff that attends to ill inmates when needed. Doctors did not visit the prisoners nor were there any nurses, dentists or psychiatrists who provided necessary medical attention to the prisoners. In 2000, there were a total of 40 inmate deaths that concerned government officials. In Argentina's Constitution it states that inmates must remain clean, healthy and safe. The Constitution also states that prisons are built for security not for rehabilitation purposes. Nonetheless, many of the necessary improvements have not been made and unfortunately inmates leave prison in worse condition then when they originally entered.
Justification For Punishment: In Argentina self-justification is available. Retribution punishment allows society to move forward. Prisons are for security purposes only but rehabilitation is an option for detainees. One rehabilitation option is job training. Training provides skills and knowledge that are necessary to re-enter the workforce and become economically self-sufficient. Drug and psychiatric treatments are another option for rehabilitation. A group of caring medical professionals have helped thousands of inmates achieve solidarity and mental and physically healthiness.
Juveniles: Economic issues in the region cause high unemployment rates which are a factor that contributes to juvenile delinquency. A high rate of homelessness is also a contributing factor. When a crime is committed and a juvenile is arrested the offender may or may not face charges in Youth Court.
Police Structure: Argentina's police structure is decentralized including both federal and provincial procedures. Policing in Argentina is the sole responsibility of federal and provincial governments. The main priority of the Federal Penitentiary System (SPF) is to provide safe custody, guarding and necessary treatment of the incarcerated prisoners. For instance, Argentina's Internal Security System provides a structured policy for 26 armed and unarmed police officers. At the provincial level, each government organizes and controls its police officers. However, in the jurisdiction of the federal police and security the protective forces are limited to defined crimes. Whereas the provincial police forces are limited to nonfederal crimes within their own borders.
Divisions of Law Enforcement:
The police forces in Argentina maintain internal security by law. Two specific types of police functions are listed below:
- Security Police: The services are related to public order and safety, crime prevention and control, criminal control and protective administrative activities.
- Judiciary Police: Strict policing activities performed under supervision and related to criminal investigations.
Militay: Argentina had three (3) military branches:
- Argentine Army (Ejercito Argentino)
- Navy of the Argentine Republic (Armada Republica; includes naval aviation and naval infantry)
- Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, FAA) (2010)
The age range for male and female military services are involuntary 18-24 years of age and for voluntary 18-21 which requires parental consent. The President of Argentina is the commander in chief of the military.
- Male: 340,570
- Female: 323,953
Police Corruption: Police corruption was and still is a serious problem in Argentina. There have been incidents of killings and brutalities by police officials. Unfortunately, after the federal government and the provincial government in Buenos Aires eliminated corrupt officers the problem still lingered. The corruption left prisons and jails to become overcrowded and innocent citizens detained.
Crime Rates and Public Opinion
Degree of Crime: In Argentina there are several different types of crimes committed. For example violent crimes, property crimes, and others such as human trafficking. In 2001, the overall rate of crime committed in Argentina was low compared to those countries that were industrialized. An investigation was done using INTERPOL data. Below is a chart which lists those crimes and statistical rates.
|Violent Crimes: 2001||Statistics (Rate)|
|Murder||8.24 per 100,000 population|
|Property Crimes: 2001||Statistics (Rate)|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||188.03|
|Other: 2001||Statistics (Rate)|
|Drug Offenses||15,508 per 100,000 people|
|Human Trafficking||In 2005, in Latin America and the Caribbean there were 118,000 victims of trafficking.|
Marriage: Argentina's official religion is Roman Catholic. With following Catholicism practices, marriage is considered a holy sacrament that creates a relationship between man and women. For Catholics, if one of the participants is Catholic, the Church requires the couple to express their desire to give themselves in marriage before a priest with at least two witnesses. This process is called the canonical form of marriage. Typically the two participants are baptized first as children then confirmed when adolescents and finally when they decide to commit themselves to matrimony is a binding promise which is a visible sign of God's love in the world. This means that the couple finds in their relationship a source of God's grace.
When it comes to same sex marriages Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage after the Senate voted in its favor. The law, allows same sex couples to adopt, which led the Catholic Church and other religious groups to become upset and discouraged. The legislation, with the support of President Cristina Fernandez passed by 33 votes to 27 with three abstentions.
Divorce: It doesn't matter where in the world Roman Catholicism is practiced the idea of divorce is highly frowned upon. So when divorce and remarriage become legal in Argentina there was much controversy. The vote in the Senate was 26 to 14. The law was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in October of 2009 by a 176-to-36 vote. Legislation had stated that Argentina was one of only (7) seven countries in the world that forbid divorce under any circumstances. Under civil marriage law the couple may divorce by mutual consent after both participants have been separated for a minimum of a year. However, if the divorce is at the request of just one participant, the divorce only becomes available after a separation of a minimum of three years.
Adoption: In Argentina, there are specific requirements a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. Unfortunately, no child can be adopted if the specific requirements are met. The first eligibility requirement is the relinquishment of parental rights. The child's biological parents must relinquish their rights to the child. This is done through the justice system. Once the parents advocate their rights, their decision is irrevocable. The child may not be placed up for adoption immediately after birth. The law states that there is a 60-day waiting period in case the birth mother decides to change her mind. During the 60-day period, the courts have the ability to review the personal environment of the child and biological parents. For instance, the age of the parents and the level of care they are able to provide for the child, and if the housing conditions are suitable. According to Argentine law, the adoptive parents must tell their child of his/her adoption before he/she reach the age of 18. The law also states that the child has the right to know their biological identity and may have access to their adoption file once they have reached the age of 18. The second requirement is abandonment. If the child is a ward of the court, there is no need for a release from the parents. Also if the child lived on the streets, or housed in a government housing facility for more than one year then no release is needed.
In Argentina, an infinite amount of adoptions take place through a direct exchange or either through a private agreement between the biological mother and those wishing to adopt. New legislation was created to try to clarify and speed up the process of adopting through the state. The National Register of Aspiring Adopters (DNRUA) was created as a national list of people waiting to adopt. According to the law, each provincial register submits the names of all those on the waiting-list to the national register in the capital. The judges then use the list to choose the best family for each child.
Inheritance: In domestic law, the Argentine Civil Code states that the continuity of the estate of an expired person is governed by the law of the state of the deceased's residency at the time of death regardless of the person lineage. The Civil Code further insists that the same law oversees the information and authentication of wills. Also, the Civil Code suggests exclusion to the general rule that the law of the deceased's residency governs inheritance.
Decision-Making Rights: In Argentina, the legal age (with no restrictions) is the age of 18. Whereas the age of 13 allows minimal activity with certain restrictions. One particular restriction under the minimum age of 13 is in regards to sexual contact. The restriction prohibits adolescents from engaging in sexual activity between the ages of 13 and 16. If there is contact, a formal complaint can be filed by either the parent of guardian of either participant. The above restriction applies to a individual being 18 or older taking advantage of a minor sexually. The legal drinking age in Argentina is 18.
Citizenship Rights: Citizenship is granted to a child only on the premises that both the child's parents are citizens of Argentina.
The Argentine Constitution lists numerous rights and guarantees that the people are protected by. Below I listed fundamental rights that are listed in the Constitution.
"Section 8.- The citizens of each province shall be entitled to all rights, privileges, and immunities inherent in the condition of citizen in the other provinces. The extradition of criminals is a reciprocal obligation among all the provinces."
"Section 14.- All the inhabitants of the Nation are entitled to the following rights, in accordance with the laws that regulate their exercise, namely: to work and perform any lawful industry; to navigate and trade; to petition the authorities; to enter, remain in, travel through, and leave the Argentine territory; to publish their ideas through the press without previous censorship; to make use and dispose of their property; to associate for useful purposes; to profess freely their religion; to teach and to learn."
"Section 15.- In the Argentine Nation there are no slaves: the few who still exist shall become free as from the swearing of his Constitution; and a special law shall regulate whatever compensation this declaration may give rise to. Any contract for the purchase and sale of persons is a crime for which the parties shall be liable, as well as the notary or officer authorizing it. And slaves who by any means enter the nation shall be free by the mere fact of entering the territory of the Republic."
"Section 16.- The Argentine Nation admits neither blood nor birth prerogatives: there are neither personal privileges nor titles of nobility. All its inhabitants are equal before the law, and admissible to employment without any other requirement than their ability. Equality is the basis of taxation and public burdens."
"Section 41.- All inhabitants are entitled to the right to a healthy and balanced environment fit for human development in order that productive activities shall meet present needs without endangering those of future generations; and shall have the duty to preserve it. As a first priority, environmental damage shall bring about the obligation to repair it according to law. The authorities shall provide for the protection of this right, the rational use of natural resources, the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage and of the biological diversity, and shall also provide for environmental information and education. The Nation shall regulate the minimum protection standards, and the provinces those necessary to reinforce them, without altering their local jurisdictions. The entry into the national territory of present or potential dangerous wastes, and of radioactive ones, is forbidden."
Equality: The Argentine Constitution protects the equality of both males and females. The Constitution prohibits any type of discrimination against women. There are civil liberties for women’s that are respected. The law guarantees freedom of movement for women and there are no restrictions of this freedom. Women also have the freedom of financial independence.
Presence of Discrimination: Although there are laws protecting both male and female rights there is a definite presence of discrimination. In Argentina there are various ethinic groups who live within the borders. Just recently did Argentina consider itself a multicultural society.
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