Feminists reject Valencia’s appointment as national prosecutor: ‘It is deeply worrying for women and girls in this country’

After more than 100 days without a national prosecutor, the Senate has ratified the name of Ángel Valencia to fill the highest office of Public Prosecutor. The discussion in Congress was not without controversy, among which Valencia’s interrogation for his legal record stands out.

Ángel Valencia obtained 40 votes in favour, 6 abstentions and 3 against. Those who refused were Carmen Gloria Aravena (IND), Loreto Carvajal (PPD) and Alejandro Kusanovic (IND).

It should be noted that for days several feminist organizations, parliamentarians and political figures have been demonstrating against the designation of Valencia as a candidate. The main objections focused on the role of the lawyer in defending cases relating to sexual offences, harassment and gender-based violence.

For example, the defense of former judge Luis Barría, formalized for sexual abuse of a judicial official in 2018 in Rancagua.

Consulted by El Mostrador Braga, the former minister of the National Service of Women (2006-2009) and director of the Miles Chile Corporation, Laura Albornoz, underlines that Valencia is by no means the best card for the Public Prosecutor.

“As a feminist and former Women’s Minister, I feel that someone whose professional life history is defending sex offender, sex offender or rape cases does not have the moral or ethical status to be a National Attorney.”

Along the same lines, Albornoz focuses on senators, since in his opinion the interest in addressing issues related to gender-based violence has only political ends.

”Here is the irrefutable proof of what the real behavior of senators is when it comes to engaging on issues that concern women, who are the causes of violence and sexual abuse that are dealt with above all in the Public Prosecutor’s Office. They only use it in election time”, says Albornoz.

On the other hand, the feminist activist and spokesperson of the Permanent Assembly for the legalization of abortion, Siomara Molina, points out that the organizations have been able to testify that Valencia does not guarantee the implementation of a gender perspective in the judicial system.

”We have learned of Ángel Valencia’s actions within the judiciary, we know that in cases dealing with gender issues, hate crimes against women, his actions have been deeply criticized. He is a person who does not have the skills or learning in terms of gender perspective for the application of justice

“It’s deeply troubling for us feminists, for the women and girls of this country,” she adds.

From the 8M coordinator, spokeswoman Karina Nohales expressed her dissatisfaction with the appointment of prosecutor Valencia, claiming that he is a “systematic defender of sex offenders”, through her Twitter account.

Defense against questions

It should be noted that the third candidate from La Moneda was questioned today in the Senate by parliamentarians, for his role as defense attorney in cases of sexual offences, harassment and violence against women and girls.

”As lawyers, we have a commitment to justice, to legal validity and guarantees, to the presumption of innocence, to the right to a fair trial. Even if we don’t necessarily identify with what the client had in hand,” Valencia told the Upper House.

Secondly, As declared by the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, during her speech in the Constitutional Commission of the Senate —which lasted for hours—, “all the names that are in the corner are of people who have the prerequisites to lead the prosecutor’s office. You have to choose one and you have to prefer one. When you nominate one, it’s not that you exclude the others, you give priority to one”. We recall that the portfolio manager has a link with Valencia, having defended them in the Publicam case in 2006.

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“In this decision the Executive had the same criteria as on this occasion, not looking for the person we like or politically similar, but looking for a person who, after knowing the appreciations of the Senate, is the best to lead the office. We are convinced that defending Human Rights in Chile, the rights of women victims of crime, those citizens who want institutions to work in the same way for everyone and not according to their pockets, the main task we have as a political system it is not maintaining the tension that we have maintained all this time without success, in not maintaining a headless Prosecutor’s Office, in not giving priority to any criterion that does not seek the most suitable person ”, concluded Minister Tohá after the vote.

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