Argentinean Rulings

I had the opportunity to meet Ricardo Asch during August of 2004, in the headquarters of the courthouse where he was placed under custody serving an arrest warrant from Interpol, by request of the U.S. Federal Justice System. Once those initial moments of confusion and distress were overcome -and once he regained his freedom- , our second encounter took place in my office in Buenos Aires. The case before us was certainly a difficult one due to the fact that the extradition treaty in force between the USA and Argentina allowed little opportunity for defense and thus the probability of obtaining favorable results was cut to a minimum. This outlook had even been concurred upon by other solicitors that Dr. Asch had consulted with during those days. I have to state that Ricardo Asch’s defense was one of the most interesting cases I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of in my professional career. To entangle in legal contest against a foreign power, and doing it through procedures that had been devised precisely to avoid said foreign power finding any opposition, required the development of a highly original strategy. We had to match the strenght of our adversary and ensure that, during the process, the rights of our new client were enforced.

So it came to be that, after a series of argumentations, we managed to obtain the application of the Extradition Treaty that was in force between both countries during the commission of the crimes attributed to Ricardo Asch, declining the treaty in force at the date of the actual extradition request.This shift in applicable law allowed us to have recourse to a number of rights in favor of our client that proved decisive in the resolution of the conflict, chief among them the possibility of being tried in the Republic of Argentina for deeds attributed to him in the USA, and the consideration of their prescription under local law.

I´ll jump ahead and reveal the end, as the detils of the trial are to be found elsewhere in this webpage. Ricardo Asch was acquitted of all charges and it was ordered to dismiss all arrest warrants pending against him. The appropriate notifications were made to each agency concerned including, of course, the Government of the United States of America.

And if you think we are approaching the conclusion of this movie, I regret to let you down. Ricardo Asch’s ordeal drags on because the United States refuse to acknowledge the sentence of the Argentinian Justice Authority by considering it not legally binding, effectively depriving him of his most basic rights.

If during 2004 I had the occasion to meet a new client, I can now claim to keep counseling a great friend, from whom I learned that tenacity, optimism and hope are inexhaustible engines against this tough challenges. I have no doubt that one day, sooner than later, I will be able to make a toast with my friend, Ricardo, to the recovery of his most absolute freedom. The freedom he should have never seen diminished, the one he deserves.

Santiago Kent.
Abogado, Tomo 48 Folio 198 del CPACF, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Below we provide a PDF of the Argentinean Rulings and a link that will take you to the Judiciary's Office of the Republic of Argentina webpage where you can read more about the case.