ECUADOR JUSTICE / International disrepute for Ecuadorean justice
The final report of the Oversight Committee was framed
The report mentions numerous irregularities and noncompliance in the scoring and selection of certain judges. It recommended that the National Court of Justice come forth and establish the consequences of the selection process. Notwithstanding, the Committee conformed by the very Government was not heard. This demonstrates that it was used simply as a screen to validate the judicial fraud betraying the promise to the nation of making a true change in justice. The entire process was merely a formality in their true objective of taking over the judicial power.

"Inexcusable error", the key to impeaching judges"
The new Organic Code of Judicial Function, Article 109, number 7 considers the term "Inexcusable error" for the impeachment of judges.  It has become a key instrument for the suspension and impeachment of judges that contradict the regime, despite being rejected by lawyers, jurists and judges.

According to official data, from mid 2011 till the end of 2013, the Judicature Council appointed 1,430 judges, suspended 273 and impeached 380.  During that time period the number of sitting judges went from 1,117 to 1,708.

The majority of the impeachments accused the judges of “fraud, willful negligence or inexcusable error”. According to international judicial standards, judges may only be suspended or impeached for “incapacitation or behavior rendering them unfit from carrying out their duties”.

OCP / SRI case and the impeachment of judges
In July 2013 the National Court of Justice ruled against the Internal Tax Service (SRI) when it objected to an accounting annotation in the amount of 252 million USD that the SRI had issued for the Oleoductos de Crudo Pesados (OCP) company for an alleged sub-capitalization and credit simulation. In September 2013, the director of the SRI announced that this appellate sentence by the National Court would generate a loss of millions to the national treasury.  .

Because of this ruling the National Judicature Council initially suspended the two judges who presided over the case and finally impeached them in January 2014. A State institution obviously interfered with judicial decisions. The OCP is currently in the hands of the State.

In Rafael Correa’s regime, the judicial power has gone through a systematic deterioration causing much national and international embarrassment. It has been labeled submissive and joined to the interests of the Executive.

Cases such as the newspaper El Universo where the judges receive from the complainant’s litigating attorneys the sentences written in favor of the President of the Republic and obligating the accused to pay $40 million USD in damages caused a never before seen stupor.

The Isaias case is another embarrassment. It has been kidnapped almost 15 years by a politicized judicial system, 7 years by this Government alone. The judges who found them not guilty were removed from the bench. The judges no longer study the case; the rulings are drafted in Carondolet or at the offices of Correa’s attorneys. Fear influences the rulings. Any judge that wants to keep his post, avoid being persecuted, impeached or criminally sued would not dare to judge based on law but, rather does so based on opportunity and political interest of the regime. In some cases, they rule in his favor so as not to make an enemy or to ingratiate themselves and obtain benefits.

This reality has gone beyond our borders, such as in the Chevron case where a circle of political judicial corruption has been discovered. Other countries and international organizations watch with serious concerns how Ecuador’s judicial system is constantly being politically manipulated.
The removed judge José Suing opens up: A messenger from the presidency was sent to press for the ruling of the OCP
In the third episode of the web show "Ahora... ¡A Quemarropa!", hosted by Carlos Vera, the removed judge José Suing reveals some of the unknown facts about the abducted ecuadorian justice, as seen from inside and states that he will go on to international instances to demand for repair, as he considers himself abused in his rights.
International watchers look with interest the develmpents in ecuadorean justice
“Ecuador’s judicial reform process has created doubts as to the nation’s judicial independence”, said Human Rights Watch in a letter it sent to Gustavo Jalkh, president of the Judicature Council. Since 2011, a Judicature Council comprised almost completely by former officials of the Correa Government has appointed and impeached hundreds of judges using seriously questionable methods.


For the majority of the impeachments, the Judicature Council considered that the judges had violated an article of the Code of Judicial Function that, unclearly written prohibited judicial employees from “fraud, willfully negligent or inexcusable error”.

"The Ecuadorian judicial reform promoted by the government should have contributed to the consolidation of judicial power and deepen its independence”, observed Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas for Human Rights Watch. "Until now, the reform is going in the opposite direction".

LINKS:
www.ecuadorenvivo.com
www.hrw.org
In the 2013 report by the State Department regarding human rights it placed Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela at the forefront of countries that violated most civil liberties in Latin America.

The document is essential for Congress to determine the distribution of aid in the region. It warns about the restrictions on freedom of speech, press and association in Ecuador, as well as, other grave violations of human rights and the absence of independent judicial power.

It also points out that corruption in Ecuador was rampant and that the lack of transparency in the judicial sector persists in spite of some attempts at procedural reformation.

"President Correa and his Government continue their verbal and legal attacks against the press. The Executive has repeatedly declared that the press was “his worst enemy” and has encouraged government officials and private citizens to file suits against the media. This has provoked a rise in self censorship by the media.

LINKS:
www.elpais.com
www.ecuadorenvivo.com
"President Correa and his Government continue their verbal and legal attacks against the press. The Executive has repeatedly declared that the press was “his worst enemy” and has encouraged government officials and private citizens to file suits against the media. This has provoked a rise in self censorship by the media.




"Many experts who were consulted agreed that the public statements, especially those made by the Minister of the Interior and the President, apparently influenced the decisions made by judges, who fear retaliation and want to keep their jobs, since the judge has no other option than to carry out the orders demanded by the Executive’s representatives.

Others thought not only are these statements influential but, rather absolutely determinant and linked to the public statements” states the report. It adds that “a very controversial aspect is the presence of government officials not members of the judiciary at certain hearings, situations that generate pressure so that the judges rule to grant pretrial detention almost immediately.

This means, there is a clear correlation that affects the judge and the decision he will make”.

LINKS:
www.dplf.org
On March 4, 2014, a federal judge in the United States found "evidentiary fraud and corruption" in the sentence against Chevron for environmental contamination in Ecuador, affirming the multimillion dollar sanction levied against the US oil company was obtained illegally by the Ecuadorian judiciary.

The ruling by Judge Lewis Kaplan affirmed that the company and its affiliate Texaco, "could possibly have some responsibility" for the contamination during the years it worked in the Ecuadorian Amazon (1964-1990), but that the sentence against it, for 9.5 billion USD, was stained with irregularities.

"The New York attorney Steven Donziger and his Ecuadorian colleagues presented fraudulent evidence, they wrote the sentence for the Lago Agrio case and offered the Ecuadorian judge 500,000 USD to rule in their favor and sign the verdict”, wrote Kaplan in his opinion of 497 pages, dated March 4, 2014 in Manhattan, NY, US.

LINKS:
www.elcomercio.com
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