A Babalao Engineered Catch-22

Quico says: From Simón Romero’s troubling New York Times piece on Chávez’s new intelligence decree-law:

One part of the law, which explicitly requires judges and prosecutors to cooperate with the intelligence services, has generated substantial concern among legal experts and rights groups, which were already alarmed by the deterioration of judicial independence under Mr. Chávez.

While the language of this passage of the law, and several others, is vague, legal experts say the idea is clear: justice officials, including judges, are required to actively collaborate with the intelligence services rather than serve as a check on them.

“This is a government that simply doesn’t believe in the separation of powers,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch, the New York-based rights organization. “Here you have the president legislating by decree that the country’s judges must serve as spies for the government.”

So when various do-gooding NGOs challenge the new decree-law in the courts, they’ll be putting their arguments to judges required by law to spy for the defendant.