Bolivia Senate to hold impeachment trial for high court chief justice News
Bolivia Senate to hold impeachment trial for high court chief justice

[JURIST] The Bolivian Senate [official website, in Spanish] announced Thursday that an impeachment trial for Chief Justice Dr. Eddy Walter Fernandez Gutierrez [official profile, in Spanish] of the Bolivian Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] will be held on June 3. The Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish], Bolivia's lower congressional house, impeached Fernandez and suspended his title earlier this month after convicting him on the charge of "retardation of justice" [Los Tiempos report, in Spanish]. Fernandez denounced his impeachment as a politically motivated endeavor to clear room in the Supreme Court for a justice more likely to represent the interests of Bolivian president and leader of the Socialist Movement (MAS) [party website, in Spanish] party Evo Morales [official profile, in Spanish; JURIST news archive].

The "retardation of justice" charge was attributed to public discontent [Los Tiempos report, in Spanish] over Fernandez's refusal to hear a case against former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada [Trial Watch profile] arising from the "Black October" [AI Backgrounder] killings of 2003. Five days after Fernandez's title was suspended, the Supreme Court announced their intention to try Lozada [JURIST report]. The riots leading up to the Black October killings occurred when military forces clashed with indigenous farmers, coca growers, students, and unionists who protested Sanchez de Lozada's attempts to open up the country to free trade with the US and to export gas and other natural resources. The protests were led by Morales.