What really is “lawfare”?

LA NACIÓN – The expression lawfare, so fashionable and so close to the political allegations of Kirchnerism, is not new nor did it arise from those sectors, which are rather those who use this tool against their adversaries.

The term, a contraction of law and warfare, although it had a mention in the 70s, was fundamentally a development of Major General Charles Dunlap Jr, deputy judge and attorney general of the United States Air Force, on the occasion of of the war with Afghanistan, after the attack on the Twin Towers, in 2001.

During that confrontation, the Taliban built their military units near schools, religious sites and hospitals. It was a form of abuse on the moral of the adversary.

If the attack did take place anyway, the terrorists accused the United States and its NATO allies of massacring innocents. Faced with this situation, NATO imposed on itself protocols for the protection of civilians that were stricter than international laws themselves. That is why Dunlap wrote that the Taliban did not need to deploy antiaircraft defenses, since they used the Law of War to protect themselves in the midst of civilians as if it were another weapon.

The Islamic State criminal organization erected seven buildings for military operations in the center of the city of Raqa, in Syria, thus ensuring that the US forces did not touch them during the ten months of confrontation, despite the fact that their intelligence services they had detected them for what they were.

Meanwhile, Islamic State continued to slaughter civilians in the cities they were advancing on. In the Netherlands, a Palestinian NGO initiated a criminal case against the Riwal company, from that country, for having rented to Israel, for 16 days, equipment to build the defensive wall that separates it from the West Bank strip.

The investigation amounted to such harassment against the company, including raids, that it resulted in the company’s withdrawal from any business with Israel.

That is why Dunlap defined lawfare as the strategy of “using the law as a substitute for military means in order to achieve an operational objective.”

Most of the actions considered lawfare are carried out by states sponsoring terrorism or by organizations that operate under the mask of defending human rights.

The appeal to the higher morals of the adversary is repugnant when those who invoke it have no intention of being subject to those ethical parameters.

In Argentina, this strategy is adopted precisely by a terrorist organization, the Ancestral Mapuche Resistance. The members of this group are unaware of Argentine sovereignty over territories that they claim without grounds, repudiate the Argentine flag and laws, set fire to forests, destroy homes and vehicles, murder civilians and burn churches; but they do not hesitate to go to the national courts to obtain a conviction against those who persecute them with the law, as was clearly seen in the “Maldonado case”.

As in international warfare, they use the laws and institutions of the states they attack, as a weapon of combat.

Kirchnerism, which has always presented itself as an ally or friend of these groups, as well as of state sponsors of terrorism, repeatedly used lawfare.

It did so from the start, when swept a Supreme Court in the face of strangely widespread approval that failed to see the danger posed by such a precedent.

Today the members of that same political party, once again in government, seek to replace or neutralize the Court that they themselves appointed. They returned to use the lawfare with the signing of the memorandum with Iran, the advances on the Judicial Council, the “operative poof” and the current attempts to dismantle the current Judicial Branch to replace it by another totally subject to the government.

In these circumstances, the law remains an inescapable requirement, but it is not sufficient to avoid the lawfare practiced by those who complain about it.

The mastery of language, communication, alliances and interaction with the people and with democratic institutions, by the opposition and all independent sectors, are unavoidable tools to defend the law of those who conceive it exclusively as a war tool that can be thrown away after use and replaced by oppressive ordering.