CHAPTER VI JudiciaryArticle 73
- The power to take cognizance of civil and criminal cases, to resolve them and enforce compliance of judgments, is vested exclusively in the Courts established by law. Neither the President of the Republic nor the Congress may, in any case whatsoever, exercise judicial functions, take over pending cases, revise the grounds for or contents of their decisions or revive closed cases.
- Courts may not excuse themselves from exercising their authority if their intervention is requested in a legal manner and in connection with affairs of their jurisdiction, not even in the absence of a law to resolve the dispute or issue submitted to their decision.
- To enforce execution of decisions and to carry out instructions they have decreed, or have them carried out, the ordinary and the special Courts of Justice comprising the Judiciary may issue direct orders to the public forces or exercise available means of action for enforcement thereof. The other courts shall act in accordance with the manner indicated by law.
- The requested authority shall fulfill the judicial mandate, without further proceedings, and may not judge the grounds or opportunity thereof, or the justice or legality of the decision to be executed.
- A constitutional organic law shall determine the organization and authorities of the Courts needed for the prompt and complete administration of justice in the entire territory of the Republic. The same law shall respectively indicate the requirements to be met by the Judges to qualify and the number of years the persons appointed in the capacity of Justices of the Court or ordinary Judges should have practiced the profession of lawyer.
- The constitutional organic law regarding organization and authorities of the Courts may only be amended after the Supreme Court has been heard on the matter.
- With regard to the appointment of Judges the law shall conform to the following general precepts:
- The Justices and Prosecutors of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President of the Republic, by selecting them from a slate of five persons who, in each case, shall be proposed by the Court itself. Included in the slate submitted by the Court shall be the senior Justice of the Court of Appeals, who should appear on the list of merits. The other four places shall be filled in accordance with the merits of the candidates; persons alien to the administration of justice shall also be eligible.
- The Justices and Prosecutors of the Courts of Appeals shall be appointed by the President of the Republic selected from a slate of three persons proposed by the Supreme Court.
- Ordinary Judges shall be appointed by the President of the Republic and shall be selected from a slate of three persons proposed by the Court of Appeals of the respective jurisdiction.
- The senior ordinary Judge, for civil or criminal cases of the Court, or the senior ordinary Judge for civil or criminal cases in the position next below that to be filled, who appears on the list of merits and has expressed his interest in that position, shall be included in the corresponding list of three. The other two places will be filled considering the merits of the candidates.
- However, when dealing with the appointment of deputy Justices of Courts, the appointment may be made by the Supreme Court, and, in the case of Judges, by the respective Court of Appeals. These appointments may not last more than thirty days and are not extendability. In case the aforementioned Higher Courts do not avail themselves of such power, or if the period of supererogation has expired, vacancies shall be filled in the above-mentioned ordinary manner.
The Judges are personally liable for bribery, failure to observe substantial matters of law, governing procedure, denial and wrongful administration of Justice; and in general, for any prevarication incurred in the performance of their functions.
In connection with members of the Supreme Court, the law shall determine the cases and the manner in with this responsibility is to be enforced.Article 77
- As long as Judges perform their duties properly, they shall remain in office; however, lower-court Judges shall perform their respective judgeship for the period determined by law.
- Notwithstanding the above, Judges shall cease their functions upon completing the age of 75 years; or resignation or legal supervening disability or in case they are deposed from their positions for legally sentenced cause. The norm relative to age shall not apply with regard to the President of the Supreme Court who shall remain in his post through the end of his term.
- At any rate, the Supreme Court may, upon demand by the President of the Republic, upon request made by an interested party or by an official letter, declare that Judges have not performed their duties properly, and, subject to the statement by the defendant and to a report from the respective Court of Appeals, the majority of its members may agree to remove them from office. These agreements shall be communicated to the President of the Republic in order that they may enter into effect.
- The President of the Republic, at the proposal or decision of the Supreme Court, may authorize exchanges or order the transfer of Judges or other officials and employees of the Judiciary from one post to another of equal rank.
Justices of the Higher Courts, Prosecutors and ordinary Judges, who are members of the Judiciary, may not be apprehended without an order from the competent Court, except in case of flagrant offense or crime, and only to be immediately brought before the court which is to try the matter in conformity with the law.Article 79
- The Supreme Court is entrusted with the executive, correctional and economic supervision of all the Courts of the nation. The Constitutional Court, the Elections Qualifying Court, the Regional Electoral Courts and the Military Courts in time of war are excepted from this norm. The Courts which take cognizance of matters contested under administrative law shall be subject to this supervision in accordance with the law.
- The Supreme Court shall also take cognizance of disputes over competence arising between political or administrative authorities and the Courts of Justice, the decision of which does not appertain to the Senate.
The Supreme Court may, by means of an official letter or upon request of a party, in matters of which it takes cognizance, or which may have been submitted to it by an appeal filed for a cause followed before another Court, declare inapplicable for such particular cases all legal precepts contrary to the Constitution. This appeal may be filed during any stage of the proceedings and the Court may order stay of proceedings.