Patricia Bullrich, the Argentine minister of security, recently said the protocol that legalizes trigger-happy use of firearms “is legal and constitutional” and argued that if a policeman “has a gun and he cannot use it, we are in the worst of the worlds”. She also said that “to defend the lives of people, it is often necessary to use guns”.
In the first week of December 2018, the Argentine ministry of security and president Mauricio Macri authorized the implementation of a resolution which gave the police greater liberty to shoot to kill. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Chocobar Doctrine,’ after a famous case in which a police officer, Luis Oscar Chocobar, shot a man who had participated in the violent robbery of a tourist, and killed him. The new resolution allows the police to shoot without identifying themselves, shoot at the back and kill with fewer restrictions.
The resolution also regulates the use of firearms by all members of the federal security forces. Through it, the government permits the use of firearms against “the escape of whoever represents an imminent danger”.
“It is a legal, constitutional guideline aimed at protecting citizens,” said Bullrich, defending the resolution. The regulation enables security forces to shoot at suspects of crimes, whether armed or not, and whether or not having been judicially proven guilty of a crime.
In addition, she indicated that “criminals have no qualms about using their weapon of war” to “kill and assassinate”. She added, “It is a protocol that defends the lives of people, policemen and citizens. And many times, for that, it is necessary to use firearms.”
She said the policy was discussed in the 2015 campaign. “We decided that we would leave the model Zaffaroniano (established by renowned human rights judge Eugenio Zaffaroni) that defended the perpetrators and we would build one that defends the victims”.
Even Pope Francis has openly criticized protocols like this one. In December he commented to an International Commission Against the Death Penalty, “I once again want to draw attention to extrajudicial, brief or arbitrary executions, which are a regrettably recurrent phenomenon in countries with or without legal death penalty. These are deliberate homicides committed by State agents, who often pass them off as a result of confrontations with alleged criminals or are presented as unwanted consequences of the reasonable, necessary and proportional use of force to protect the citizens.”