Published en The Bubble
Nisman’s case has given rise to two intriguing story lines: the case of his mysterious death on the one hand, and the cover up accusations he made against Cristina on the other. Due to Nisman’s accusations, which came out after his death, many people have been talking about the possibility of Cristina being impeached. Cristina is still very far from that, even though she has now been formally accused by the public prosecutor in the case.
An impeachment is a process whereby the President, Vice President or any member of the Executive branch is subjected to trial. The first thing to keep in mind is that this process does not follow the normal legal steps; it is more like a pre-trial that determines whether a full penal trial against these political figures is warranted.
This is because every public official in Argentina (as in almost every Western democracy) has legal protections different from those of normal citizens. These are privileges embedded in the Constitution (articles 68 to 70) and require an impeachment before a regular trial.
So, first things first: Impeachment would be necessary to strip Cristina of her protection. Articles 53, 59 and 60 of National constitution define the procedure. How does it work?