A Buenos Aires court is throwing out a federal mandate that would widen Argentine police forces to use lethal force on civilians, making it legal for agents to shoot suspects in the back without prior warning.
National Security Minister Patricia Bullrich announced President Mauricio Macri’s resolution 956-18 on Tuesday that would legalize police use of lethal force in any situation the agent thinks presents “imminent danger,” even when the civilian suspect is unarmed.
The mandate would legalize security forces' ability to shoot someone in the back and without warning, absolving off-duty Buenos Aires cop Luis Chocobar who last December shot 18-year-old Juan Pablo Kukoc twice in the back after he robbed a tourist in 2017. Kukoc later died from the gun wounds.
Buenos Aires judge Roberto Gallardo decreed the measure unconstitutional and prohibited its application in the Argentine capital.
According to the judge, Bullrich's resolution represents a "sloppy and demagogic response to imaginary or real security" issues. For Gallardo, this is a hard-line doctrine that, far from increasing security, "subjects residents to additional risks."
On Tuesday, Kukoc’s mother, Ivonne Kukoc, came out against Bullrich and the new regulation: "They are going to kill poor kids like dogs. This authorizes the death penalty in Argentina" Ivonne added, “Bullrich should have resigned."
Since the mandate was released several cabinet members, among them Justice Minister German Garavano and legislators, including Cambiemos co-founder, Elisa Lilita Carrio, have come out strongly against the measure.
“The security force regulation dictated by Minister Bullrich violates fundamental human rights. We are not going toward fascism,” tweeted the lawmaker after it was introduced.
The Latin American Institute for Security and Democracy warned that the regulation "sends a signal to the police and security forces … to use weapons instead of regulating them” and allows “an extremely flexible interpretation … of imminent danger."
Argentina’s Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) said the new policy would favor impunity and leader among the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, said on Wednesday that the measure meant for Buenos Aires “legalizes death" and street shoot outs.