JUSTICE ECUADOR/ Putting his hands on the court
Correista judicial reform

 

 

"[They say] that the president is going to put his hands on the Court. But of course we are going to put them there, to improve those courts that satisfy no one. And what is so strange about that? Raphael Correa / January 25, 2011
Raphael Correa / January 25, 2011

That was how the President of the Republic, Rafael Correa, promoted his proposal for judicial reform, at the beginning of January 2011, after he had announced the upcoming new referendum. Said referendum was made up of ten questions which basically sought to reform the judicial system. However, these questions were camouflaged among other questions concerning security, banks, media, gambling and even bullfighting and cock fights.


Correa was looking to create a transitory entity having vast powers and capable of transforming the judicial function within 18 months. But, the idea raised doubts because the entity was going to be made up of three delegates chosen from political posts close to the president. The true objective was evident.  Correa intended on seizing the judicial function that by its very nature should be far from the executive power.

The biased Electoral Council

Correa used the entire state apparatus and manipulated the facts to win the popular vote. In his speeches he slated the question regarding judicial reform as the great panacea to eradicate delinquency and organized crime-which at the time was rampant in the country- and sold the idea that this reformation would change the violent reality the nation was subjected to because the new judges would not allow the delinquents to get away with impunity.


Finally, Correa lucked upon a forced “YES” in the voting, winning by a small margin. The results were disputed since the National Electoral Council was controlled by the executive as it is today.  That is how the term “putting his hands” on justice came to be and was christened as such by Correa.  It is an anti-democratic aberration which continues till today and that has led to an infinite amount of embarrassing evidentiary incidents.



Particulars of the vote

The referendum’s questions 4 and 5 sought to reform the Ecuadorean judicial system; they were addressed to the people in the following manner:

4. Do you agree to the substitution of the current judicial bench for a Council of Judicial Transition made up of three designated members, one by the Executive, another by the legislative power and the last by the Function of Transparency and Social Control so that in a period of no more than 18 months it exercise the competency of the National Judicature and restructure the Judicial Function as established in attachment 4?

5. Do you agree with modifying the composition of the Judicature Council, amending the constitution and reforming the Judicial Function Code as set forth in attachment 5?


As it pertains to question 4, it was approved by 52.02% of the population versus the 47.98% that voted against it.  Question 5 obtained 52.66% of the vote even though 47.34% of the people voted against it.


The correista judicial reform began with these results; the first thing he did was to personally select the Judicature Council comprised of three members who in turn would be in charge of the bidding process to select the new 21 judges of the National Court of Justice. Having accomplished the rigorous formula, Correa assured himself of control over the bidding process and the judicial power.

Council of Judicial Transition (CJT) linked to Correismo

The first step to judicial reform was to designate the three spokesmen for the Council of Judicial Transition (CJT).  President Correa appointed Paulo Rodríguez, an electrical engineer that had been an employee at his request at the Civil Registry, as his representative at the highest ranking entity of judicial reform and was given absolute power over the judicial function.  The trio was completed by Fernando Yavar who oversaw transparency issues and Tania Arias representing the legislative power. All three had obvious connections, dependency and partiality with the Correista governing party.

Paulo Rodriguez Molina: ex correismo official and of the “party-cracy”

Displayed on Rodriguez’s website was his very short resume, eight lines long, where he highlights his education at a military academy and the time he spent as Director of the Civil Registry.   However, in reality, Rodriguez hid the time he spent at other posts during the correismo, as well as, his participation in governments prior to Correa’s. Correa pejoratively refers to that time as the long neoliberal night or “party-cracy”.

BIO
Fernando Yavar Umpierrez: questionable former prosecutor

While Fernando Yavar Umpierrez was the Prosecutor for Guayas, Pedro Solines, the Superintendent of Banks recommended him for the post allowing Jaime William Toro Laaz’s preventive incarceration to expire.  He had been incarcerated since August 21, 2008, for the crime of falsifying public documents according to that alleged by Assemblyman Jorge Escala.

http://www.mpd15.org.ec/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=262:no-solo-el-padre-sino-tambien-el-hijo-fernando-yavar-umpierrez-permite-la-libertad-de-manera-irregular-de-procesados&catid=77&Itemid=188
Tania Arias Manzano: ex oficial and correismo sympathizer.

She publicly participated in various political acts along with the highest ranking officials of the Correa regime. She was part of Fander Falconi’s team who was the Director of the National Secretary of Planning and Development (Senplades). She was also advisor to the legislative bench of Alianza Pais, the Government’s party and president of the Court of Electoral Contention (TCE). As such, Arias remained silent when questioned as to the unfair electoral campaign run by Correa for the referendum of May 7, 2011. Tania Arias supervised the campaign that allowed the conformation of the CJT, which she later formed a part of as a judge…a judge and participant?

Mauricio Jaramillo Velasteguí: had direct contact with Legal Secretary of the Presidency of the Republica, Alexis Mera.

 Mauricio Jaramillo was Director General of the CJT under the guise of commissioned services granted by the President of the Republic. Jaramillo was one of Alexis Mera’s direct advisors, National Legal Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic and right hand man to Rafael Correa. He was the key link between Correa, Mera and the CJT.


Taking full advantage of the contracting norm called Emergency Regime, at the end of 2011; Jaramillo sealed the negotiation for a 34.7 million USD contract in five days with a company called Alessmart which only had 800 USD as capital at the time.

http://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/2013/05/18/nota/935856/obras-judiciales-plazos-vencidos-segun-contratos

Questions 4 and 5 of the referendum and their attachments
The referendum’s questions that sought to reform the judicial system were 4 and 5 they follow along with their corresponding attachments:

4. Do you agree to the substitution of the current judicial bench for a Council of Judicial Transition made up of three designated members, one by the Executive, another by the legislative power and the last by the Function of Transparency and Social Control so that in a period of no more than 18 months it exercise the competency of the National Judicature and restructure the Judicial Function as established in attachment 4?

ATTACHMENT 4
Article 20 of the Transition Regime states:

“The current judicial bench is removed. The Council of Judicial Transition is created as its replacement made up of three designated delegates and their respective alternates: one by the President of the Republic, another by the legislative power and the last by the Function of Transparency and Social Control; all of the delegates and their alternates could be subjected to political trials. This Council of Judicial Transition will have all of the rights established by the Constitution as well as those ordered in the Code of Judicial Function and will carry out their function for no more than 18 months.

The final Judicature Council will be chosen through a process established within the amended constitution. The Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control will make sure that the members of the new Judicature Council are designated before the conclusion of the 18 month time period allotted to the Council of Judicial Transition. Left ineffective is the bidding by merit and opposition handled by The Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control for the designation of the new spokesmen of the Judicial Council.

The first transitory disposition of the Judicial Function Code has been suppressed”.

5. Do you agree with modifying the composition of the Judicature Council, amending the constitution and reforming the Judicial Function Code as set forth in attachment 5?

ATTACHMENT 5

Amend the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador in the following manner: "Art. 179.- The Judicature Council will be consist of 5 delegates and their respective alternates, who shall be chosen as trios sent by the President of the National Court of Justice who shall preside, the Attorney General of the Nation, the Public Defender, by the Executive Power and the National Assembly.

The aforementioned delegates shall be chosen by the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control through a public process that will be scrutinized through oversight with the possibility challenges made by citizens.

The procedure, terms and other elements will be determined by the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control. The members of the Judicature Council, the appointees as well as their alternates, will hold their appointments for a period of 6 years.

The Judicature Council will submit an annual report to the National Assembly which can supervise and prosecute its members”
Los 21 justices of the new court
- Ramírez Romero Carlos Miguel
- Bermúdez Coronel Óscar Eduardo
- Robalino Villafuerte Vicente Tiberio
- Granizo Gavidia Alfonso Asdrúbal
- Ojeda Hidalgo Álvaro Vinicio
- Suing Nagua José
- Blum Carcelén Jorge Maximiliano
- Merino Sánchez Wilson Yovanny*
- Benavidez Benalcázar Merck
- Andino Reinoso Wilson Efraín*
- Ayluardo Salcedo Johnny Jimmy*
- Íñiguez Ríos Paúl Manuel*
- Merchán Larrea María Rosa
- Pérez Valencia Maritza Tatiana
- Espinoza Valdiviezo María del Carmen
- Salgado Carpio Carmen Alba del Rocío
- Terán Sierra Gladys Edilma
- Aguirre Suárez María Paula Elizabeth
- Vintimilla Moscoso María Ximena*
- Yumbay Yallico Mariana*
- Blacio Pereira Lucy Elena*
(*Judges found to be questionable by the Int’l Oversight Committee)
VIDEO: Public announcement “that the President is going to put his hands on the courts”.
VIDEO: Jorge Zavala
Heritage Foundation Conference 2013 
VIDEO:Interview of Andres Paez
Interview with Jorge Ortiz
VIDEO: Polemic Selection
News Clip on the selection of judges


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