Uruguay: Human rights judge Mota transferred to civil court duties

Intense week of changes in public posts; human rights judge Mariana Mota transferred to civil court duties; Minister of Public Health Jorge Venegas displaced by Communist Party

Mariana Mota

Human rights judge Mariana Mota transferred to civil court  

The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) decided to transfer judge Mariana Mota from her post at the Criminal Court to the Civil Court. Mota is known for her significant contributions in trials against military and civil men related to crimes committed during the last dictatorship in Uruguay. She currently had more than 50 cases under investigation.

The transfer has come as a surprise for most Uruguayans, while causing great discontent among Human Rights organizations and supporters. On Friday, around 300 people protested at the SCJ where Mota was taking office as a civil judge. The crowd was evicted by the police after a couple of violent clashes.

Enrique Rubio, a Frente Amplio senator, aims to call the SCJ to the parliament to explain the reasons for Mota’s transfer. In Uruguay, the SCJ has never been called into parliament in those terms since the return of democracy. In fact, members of parliament have no legal means to make SCJ’s presence compulsory. Therefore Rubio and other members of the Frente Amplio, such as Mónica Xavier, have labelled the call as an ‘invitation’.

Minister of Public Health Jorge Venegas displaced by Communist Party

Jorge Venegas will no longer be in charge of the Ministry of Public Health as decided by the Communist Party. They have designated Susana Muniz as his replacement, whom President Mujica has not yet met.

Venegas has born in Chile and only in 2004 became an Uruguayan citizen. However, he has been sued by Senator Amorín for not meeting the condition of seven years of Uruguayan citizenship for being elected senator or minister of state.

The candidate selected by the Communist Party, Susana Muniz, is currently in charge of 22 hospitals in northern Uruguay. She has been a doctor since 1993 and has completed graduate studies in health administration. Next week Mujica will hold a meeting with Muniz in order to take the final decision to designate her as the new Public Health Minister

Nowadays, the ministry in question is facing several challenges. Not only those brought by the new abortion law, but also long term problems with the health trade unions.