PRESS RELEASE: DPLF, Dejusticia and IDL publish report on judicial Independence in Ecuador

July 29, 2014

DPLF, along with the Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad  (Dejusticia), and the Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL), today released the report Judicial Independence in Ecuador's Judicial Reform Process written by legal expert and DPLF Senior Fellow, Luis Pásara. The report was launched at a press conference in Quito, Ecuador.

The report shows that, in spite of various reforms implemented in Ecuador over the past few years to strengthen the judicial system, a tendency by the executive branch to interfere in the decisions of judges in matters of political interest, has seriously weakened the separation of powers of the State and the checks and balances that define a democratic system.

Based on the detailed analysis of cases with high social relevance, resolutions by the Judicial Council in disciplinary procedures against Judges, and official statements, the report documents an inappropriate use of the penal system to criminalize those who disagree or oppose the government's positions. They are accused of "sabotage" or "terrorism," even in cases -like those detailed in the report- where by all indications the actions and behaviors of the defendants being processed do not comply with the legal definition of these crimes as defined by Ecuadorian and international law.  

The report also indicates that the judicial disciplinary system, managed by the Judicial Council, has been transformed into a tool to sanction judges that do not conform to the executive branch. The report documents that the Judicial Council used the term "inexcusable error" in most of the 42 disciplinary cases examined in the report to remove judges for issuing decisions that the judicial council did not agree with, and not because the judge applied a law erroneously. In these proceedings, the council took on the role of sentence review and not its legally defined role to supervise judicial conduct.

Our hope is that this report contributes to promoting a technical debate on the role of an independent justice system in all democratic societies and the current weaknesses of the Ecuadorian judicial system.   


Read the Executive Summary here

Read the full report here (Available in Spanish only)

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