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Judiciary System in Ecuador


Submitted By tefapalacios
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1. General Description and explanation of the Ecuadorian Judicial System

1. Corte nacional de justicia (The National Court of Justice)

It’s composed of 21 judges who are designed for a period of 9 years and they cannot be re-elected.


1) To know the appeals in the high court, revision and others resources established by law

2) To develop case law system based on triple reiteration failures.

3) To know the cases initiated against civil servants who enjoy immunity

4) To Introduce law projects related to the system of administration of justice.

2. Cortes provinciales de justicia (Provincial Courts of Justice)

There is a Provincial Court in each province of the country. The Judicial Council determines the number of courts and tribunals according to the needs of the population.

3. Consejo de la Judicatura (The Judiciary Council)

The Judiciary Council is composed of 9 members and their respective alternates that last for 6years and may not be re-elected. Its conformation tends to be equal between men and women.


1) To define and implement policies for the improvement and modernization of the judicial system.

2) To know and approve the budget of the judiciary system, with the exception of the autonomous bodies.

3) To direct the selection process of judges and other servants of the judiciary, and their evaluation, promotion and punishment. All processes will be public and reasoned decisions.

4) To manage the judicial career and professionalization, and organize and manage training schools and judicial training.

5) To ensure transparency and efficiency of the judiciary.

4. Corte constitucional (The Constitutional Court)

The Constitutional Court is the highest organ of control, constitutional interpretation and administration of justice in this matter. It exercises national jurisdiction.

JURISDICTION: the right or power to administer justice and to apply law

2. Background

On May 7th 2011, there was a referendum in Ecuador in order to make in a democratic way the Judicial Function’s Reform proposed by Rafael Correa.

In this referendum 53.8% of Ecuadorians supported the reform in order to eliminate the excessive use of the remand, to avoid impunity, to guarantee the appearance to the penal judges and modify the Consejo de la Judicatura. It had more support in the structural change of the Judicial Function in order to have a social, impartial, democratic, transparent and independent justice.

REMAND: Remand (court procedure) when an appellate court sends a case back to the trial court or lower appellate court for further action

IMPUNITY: is the lack of punishment. When there’s impunity, the person that has committed a crime doesn’t receive the punishment that he/she deserves; there are no sanctions for this.

1. Origin and Structure of the International Oversight

1. What is Oversight?

It is the democratic mechanism of representation that allows citizens or different organizations to apply surveillance on a public management in relation to administrative, political and judicial authorities.

Once the reform was supported from Ecuadorians, President Correa invited the Consejo de la Judicatura Transitorio (CJT) and a group of international experts to constitute the International Oversight in order to make the reform in a democratic and transparent way. This group had 6 supervisors:

Baltasar Garzón Real (Spain) - Coordinator

Carolina Escobar Sarti (Guatemala)- Sub-coordinator

MarigenHornkohl Venegas (Chile)

Marco Aurelio García (Brazil)

Victor Hugo Foresi (Argentina)

Porfirio Muñoz Ledo (Mexico)

The International Oversight had a Technical Support team in Ecuador in order to have the required information to supervise the process given by the Consejo de Participación Ciudadana y Control Social, Ministerio de Justicia and Derechos Humanos y Cultos.

2. Method

They had to act in an autonomous, impartial and independent respecting the Ecuadorian Constitution, the Internal Law of Ecuador and the international rules that protect Human Rights. For this, they selected participants to make the interviews with the following criteria:

- Democratic context: actors from different ideological tendencies

- Pluralist Context: women groups, Consejo de Participación Ciudadana y Control Social.

- Academic Context: different universities’ academics

- Institutional Context: Corte Nacional de Justicia, Cortes Provinciales, Defensoría Pública, Fiscalía General del Estado and Consejo de Judicatura Transitorio, Asamblea Nacional.

- International Context: interviews to UN representatives

- Citizen Context: Members of Law School, Federación Nacional de Judiciales, victims of the Comisión de la Verdad.

- Direct Actors Context: Judges of the Corte Nacional de Justicia

- Intercultural Context: different nationalities groups and indigenous.


3. Judicial System

The Technical Support team had analyzed the following topics: Human Talent, Model of management, Civil and technological infrastructure, Fair and financial budget, Inter-institutional cooperation and Legislative reforms and proposals to the National Assembly

1. Human Talent

Human talent seeks to train the judicial server and give the Judicial Function prepared and responsible staff in order to work in an efficient way. For this, there will be established an analysis of human resources of the judicial servants in the following categories:

1. Restructure of the justice

- The Consejo de la Judicatura de Transición will invest $50 million to indemnify 1.901 workers. $30 million to 839 judicial functionaries that failed the judicial evaluation (65 judges). $14 million to settle up the 136 contracts of voluntarily retirement and $6 millions for 926 people who quit voluntarily. This is why the association of justice servants asked for another evaluation. However, the vacant positions will be filled by staff with temporary contracts. However, it has been said that these staff is not prepared and judges that stay in the position were aligned with the government.


2. Model of management

This establishes that the servers have determined judicial functions, profiles and labor commitments in the public service.

3. Civil and technological infrastructure

The spaces for the development of the judicial function, attention to the public, attention to the lawyers, local for trials, and more facilities must be adequate and worthy. Also, the technological system must be optimal and contribute to the productivity of judicial officials. Ex: In Cuenca both infrastructures are optimal, totally different in Guayaquil.

4. Fair and financial budget

This is about the budget analysis, investment and management of budget used by “el Consejo de la Judicatura Transitorio” to carry out the judicial reform.

5. Inter-institutional cooperation

Different institutional actors that are part of the administration of justice system have helped the International Oversight giving it antecedents to have a general view. For example: la Defensoría del Pueblo, Defensoría Pública and Fiscalía General del Estado.

4. Arguments from different contexts:

National Court of Justice:

- Lack of specialized judges and lack of experience in the psychometric evaluation manner due to lack of experience of the evaluators.

Indigenous movements

- There aren’t judges from indigenous sector; therefore, there isn’t a development of the Intercultural rule of the Ecuadorian constitution. The accusations of sabotage and terrorism must stop.

Consejo de la Judicatura en transición

- Lack of judges in the provinces of the county. The service in the provinces had low quality and only in the big cities was good so it’s necessary to make it equal.

- They should clean all the causes that come frequently

Corte constitucional del Ecuador en periodo de transición

- There are judges that don’t apply the Ecuadorian constitution

Judicial sector:

- Only few people received judicial training, there was a limited time to develop the judicial evaluation process. Also people have been dismissed for having accepted protection actions against the State so there isn’t freedom to act in an impartial way

Teachers from universities:

- There wasn’t an adequate information about the process of selection and designation of judges of the National Court of Justice and the judges weren’t prepared for the exams

Parliamentary groups:

- Political movement Ruptura 25:

- The National Court of Justice’s resolution of the “El Universo” case was in favor to Correa. Many people didn’t have the liberty waiting for an appeal in the high court (recurso de casacion) because “el universe” case had priority.

- The selection of judges of the National Court of Justice is a technical topic but with political impacts.

- Paco Moncayo:

- The restructuration is done by an authoritarian power that constitutes the biggest violation of rights. The referendum was unconstitutional and for this, there couldn’t be a transformation of the judicial system

- Cynthia Viteri

- The judicial system is formed by non specialized judges and Alianza País supports crime.


- Collective Rights of the National Assembly Commission:

- They are concerned about the reduction of judges of the National Court of Justice. There is illegitimacy of the Constitutional Court members

- Rolando Panchana, member of the Alianza País Assembly

- The justice in Ecuador is a mess, because in other governments, citizens didn’t have access to a fast justice; however, he says that this government has organized a serious process of reorganization.

Institutional Groups: (Accountability)

- National Assembly and the Structure of the State and Justice Commission

- They agree with the reform even though it isn’t perfect in order to benefit the Ecuadorian State achievements

- Defensoría Pública Nacional

- It is necessary to create a National Justice System where all the judicial organization are put into groups in order to do activities in one way and improve the access to the justice in Ecuador.

- Fiscalia General del Estado

- It is necessary to reproduce the Spanish experience of having a National Audience in order to know and judge the most serious crimes.

- There should be agreements with neighboring countries in order to avoid transnational crimes. We should create a Research Police like the FBI

Victims Association of the Truth Commission:

- Lack of general policies of justice to fight against impunity, unfair judgment and lack of protection. (we are going to talk about cases of these victims)


Fybeca case

Terranova jewelry case

Restrepo’s case

guilty government

5. Legislative reforms and proposals to the National Assembly

- From the International Oversight:

o Fairness in disciplinary control: To draft a regulation of the judicial assessment of containing the parameters to ensure their application. In addition, a justified and appropriate dismissal of the judicial members.

o Respect for the other powers of the State: Regulating the sanctions to the judges that may be influenced by the State, economic means, or corporate media.

o Transparency in work contracts: publishing the phases of the adjudications of infrastructure works, as well as the progress, costs, and the information of contracts and their beneficiaries.

o Audit compliance of contracts: Monitoring the execution of contracts, in order to comply with contractual terms, containing the institutional interests.

o Repair the rights of those affected by the judicial impunity: reopening the case history of the 118 ones delivered by the Truth Commission, to ensure they do not remain archived.

o Control of the Police and the Armed Forces: developing a specialized jurisdiction for offenses committed by their members.

- From the Judiciary Council (Consejo de la Judicatura)

o Reduction in the number of specialized rooms from eight to six, and its distribution that will allow a better agility trial. o The judicial vacancy o The use of the appeal should be as extraordinary o The legal description of the offense of femicide FEMICIDE: Murder of women for reasons of gender

[pic](until 1’35’’)

- From the citizens (Quito) o More than 10000 quiteños o An agile trial in frequent offenses o A new classification of crimes o A quick trial for catch red-handed crimes o The criminalization of new offenses (for example hired killers, to set a penalty on who hired them and the intermediaries) o An integrated system of information data o A system of legal advice to victims o The creation of a specialized body of criminal investigation
[pic] (Until 0’25”)

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