The so-called ‘Coup d’état II case’ will already go to trial. This week, the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office presented a formal accusation against the de facto ex-president Jeanine Áñez and eight other people for their alleged responsibility in breaking the constitutional thread, after the forced departure of Evo Morales from power, in 2019.
In Áñez’s case, he is charged with the crimes of breach of duties and resolutions contrary to the Political Constitution of the State and the laws. The Public Ministry supported the formal accusation with the testimony of 17 witnesses and more than 70 evidence, detailed the anti-corruption prosecutor, Lupe Zabala, who announced that 10 years in prison have been requested.
“The people who have presented their informative statement, as witnesses, have given us parameters enough to establish participation of the police chiefs of the Armed Forces, also of the Police and of Mrs. Jeanine Áñez, “Zabala said during a press conference on Tuesday. After delivery of the accusatory statement, the court must refer it to a sentencing court so that the case go to trial.
In addition to Áñez, the indictment also includes the former commander of the Police, Yuri Calderón; the former commander of the Armed Forces, Williams Kalimán (currently a fugitive), and the High Military Command who facilitated the formation of the de facto regime.
what he is acussed?
The procedure, Zabala recalled, began as a result of “the events that occurred in November 2019.” At that time, the coup against Evo Morales was perpetrated and the subsequent establishment of the de facto government headed by Áñez occurred.
The Prosecutor’s Office maintains that after the departure of Morales, the then second president of the Senate assumed the duties of Head of State, without calling a meeting of the Legislative Assembly nor did she have the faculties to take the reins of the country, according to the procedures that are established in the Constitution.
But according to the Public Ministry, the support of the Police and the Armed Forces would have been key to allowing Áñez – who was the only opposition politician with a high position in Parliament – to swear in herself as de facto president.
The objective is to condemn # JeanineAñez to silence its own internal failure, the deceit of the most humble, the indigenous peoples, the autonomies and the regions. # JeanineAñez is the scapegoat for a totalitarian project against Bolivia, freedom and unity.
– Jeanine Añez Chavez (@JeanineAnez) November 30, 2021
The reconstruction of those events, Zabala specified, was achieved based on the testimonies of police, assembly members, military and politicians, as well as an exhaustive review of the press in the days before and after the coup d’état.
Upon learning of the accusation, from Áñez’s Twitter account they released a statement to reject the decision and brand it as an attempt to condemn the de facto ex-president “at any price.”
“They do not care about the independence of the Judicial Organ, the right of the people to protest the fraud committed by the MAS, proven by the OAS; They do not mind having instigated violence or destroying the country, “they assured.
What does the defense allege?
Áñez’s defense insists that the accusation presented by the Prosecutor’s Office is unconstitutional and has in mind to file a complaint before international bodies, such as the International Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
“The only instance to interpret a constitutional matter, in this case a constitutional succession or not, is the Constitutional Court. Therefore, it cannot be interpreted by ordinary judges and prosecutors and even less take a criminal issue,” said the lawyer of the former president, Alain Canedo, in statements quoted by local media.
For the jurist, the Bolivian Justice is “generating accusations and accusations in an imprecise and abstract way“, and assured that the accusation statement against his client” lacks essential elements of evidence. “
The defense thesis is that in 2019 there was an alleged “power vacuum” after the departure of Morales – who was pressured by the police and the military high command – and the resignation of deputies and senators of the ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) , who were a majority in the Legislative Assembly. That situation, they say, made “unnecessary” the parliamentary treatment of the president’s resignation and validated Áñez’s self-proclamation, despite the fact that there was no quorum.
What does the Constitution say?
Despite what Áñez’s defense alleges, the Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia (TCP) ruled two months ago that the self-proclamation of the opposition in November 2019 it was unconstitutional.
According to the resolution issued by the TCP, the presidential succession ‘ipso facto’ only reaches the presidency of the Chambers of Deputies and Senators, therefore, there would have been no legal justification so that the then senator could be proclaimed as head of state.
“Today the Constitutional Court spoke through the plurinational constitutional ruling 0052/2021, in which the Court has ratified that there was a coup in the country“, then highlighted the Minister of Justice, Iván Lima Magne, to reject the thesis of the” power vacuum “.
However, the point of the matter is that after Áñez’s self-proclamation in 2019, the Constitutional Court endorsed the process, claiming that “the functioning of the executive body in a comprehensive manner should not be suspended,” according to a 2001 constitutional interpretation.
For the moment, Áñez remains in preventive detention in the Miraflores prison in La Paz. The opposition policy was arrested in March of this year, accused of “terrorism, sedition and conspiracy”, in the so-called Coup d’Etat I case, due to the political crisis generated in 2019 and the massacres that occurred in Senkata, Sacaba, Montero and the South Zone of La Paz during his administration.
In principle, Judge Regina Santa Cruz, of the Ninth Criminal Investigation Court of La Paz, ordered a four-month preventive detention for the de facto ex-president. In August of this year, the Bolivian Justice announced that it was extending the preventive detention against Áñez until February 2022.
For the ex-president’s lawyer, an extension of that measure violates the rights of her client and will be one of the arguments that he will use to appeal to the Inter-American Court.
Neither case keeps the current president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, indifferent, who yesterday alerted in a meeting with the Puebla Group about the attempt by sectors of the right to deny the events of 2019, to try to “destabilize” his government. and “delegitimize” the electoral results that allowed the MAS to return to power after the coup against Morales.
“That today begins to question“said Arce. And he added:” They are beginning to try to use a series of arguments to delegitimize the gain of a very clear electoral contest in our country. “