SANTIAGO – Judge Daniel Urrutia has filed a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights claiming persecution from the Chilean justice system since 2004. In his complaint, Urrutia asks the court to order the Chilean state to reform judicial power and its “militarized” structure. The international court accepted his complaint but has yet to rule on it.
Judge Daniel Urrutia, a Chilean judge serving on the Seventh Guarantee Court in Santiago, has filed a complaint against the Chilean judicial system with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The complaint has been accepted by the court but remains to be decided.
Urrutia claims that he has been personally persecuted since 2004, after he said Chile’s Supreme Court should apologize for its role during the Pinochet dictatorship. After that statement, he was sanctioned for the first time, followed by 11 more disciplinary actions against him, three of which are still pending in court.
Urrutia has become known for his defense of human rights. He has also become infamous as the “bad boy” of the judicial system for which he’s been working since 2000. During his tenure, he has been accused multiple times of politicizing the courts by defying authority, even coming close to losing his position in 2016.
Recently he garnered media attention for his role in the investigation of alleged torture in Baquedano metro station during the initial weeks of the social protests, and then by filing a complaint with the Public Prosecutor for supposed wiretaps on his communications. The case is pending.
A Controversial Judge
Urrutia has also been controversial in his rulings. In 2007, he presided over the case of a young man who had thrown rocks at the car of Judge Gloria Ana Chevesich. At the end of the trial, he charged the accuser with assault against a moving vehicle instead of the higher penalty charge, assault against authorities—a move that was much criticized by his peers.
This was repeated in 2013, when he charged a young woman who had spat in the face of the president with disrespecting authority instead of the crime of assault, which would have resulted in much stiffer penalties.
Lastly, during the 2014 elections, Urrutia initiated a process that ensured that inmates who were eligible to vote were able to fulfill their civic duty. The Chilean Gendarmery, in charge of prisons, said they had no issue with allowing inmates to vote and that things depended on the Electoral Service – which had no comment.