ECUADOR JUSTICE / The International Oversight Committee
The Government created an International Oversight Committee for the sole purpose of using it as a screen to “legitimize” the results of its judicial reform and its postulants are far from being an “independent, deliberate and transparent mechanism that collaborates with other Ecuadorian State institutions to evaluate the performance of said reform”.

The bidding process to select the new justices of the National Court of Justice began in August 2011, yet the International Oversight Committee was constituted three months later, on November 27.
On January 25, 2012, merely two months after the Oversight Committee was formed, the Council of Judicial Transition with the presence of President Rafael Correa rapidly proceeded to appoint 21 judges. This begs the question: why did they not allow the Oversight Committee to participate and observe the selection process of those that would make up the National court of Justice the highest judicial organism in Ecuador?

The Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon presided over the Committee. The other Committee members were Marigen Hornkohl (Chile), Rafael Follonier (Argentina), Marco Aurelio García (Brasil), Porfirio Munoz (Mexico), Carolina Escobar (Guatemala) and Juan Luis Mejia (Colombia). Its objective was to supervise the reformation through documents and contacts with public and private entities and societal organizations as well. This information would yield three reports covering valuations, opinions and recommendations

In reality, the government made sure that the Oversight Committee would not intervene in the selection process of the judges to the National Court of Justice, thereby selecting the 7 justices: Merino, Íniguez, Blacio, Yumbay, Vintimilla, Ayluardo and Blum; exactly one third of the 21 justices. Everything was calculated. When the Oversight Committee began its mission, there was no going back, they were all seated on the bench, and it was a done deal.

The Committee’s three reports

The first report was delivered on May 11, 2012, it contained 56 recommendations and more importantly revealed inconsistencies and the absence of clear rules in the evaluation process of the judicial employees. The second report dated August 9th, highlights that

“the success of the reform is not only determined by all the new buildings although they promote dignified and functional workplaces for the oncoming change. Nor is a renovated judicial framework sufficient to modify behavior. The most important step is the proper selection of the judicial bench in order to guarantee their independence and appropriateness for the position”.

On December 13, 2012, the Committee delivered its final report of 102 pages.  Its content was quite dismal for the Government and the Judicature Council.   The report found the designation of the following 4 judges to be questionable

Wilson Merino, Ximena Vintimilla, Lucy Blacio and Mariana Yumbay.  It pointed out that the selection of the judges to the National Court “displayed some fallacies” citing specifically to two of them. In the merit qualification stage it confirmed that the scoring and qualification were done improperly and was based on the interpretation of the Expert Committee.

In the case of those who were undeservedly awarded points, they confirmed that Mariana Yumbay barely had the requisite qualifications to apply for the position since she had only practiced law for 10 years and 6 months thereby nullifying the six points she was granted as if she had an additional three years of experience.

The report also corroborates the fact that based upon Lucy Blacio’s personal interview she was appointed to the bench thereby unjustly disqualifying Yolanda Yupanqui. They also confirmed that Wilson Merino was unjustly given 10 points for his professional experience. The committee members found absolutely no reason why he was awarded the additional points.  Additionally, in Merino’s case, the committee found that he too had benefitted from the scores given to him by the Council of Judicial Transition during his final interview. Regarding Ximena Vintimilla they similarly found the gift of 4 points for professional experience she clearly lacked.

The incongruent Committee

The Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control, an entity also controlled by the Executive, wanted to issue a response to Baltazar Garzon’s report since it had unleashed fervent criticism.  They created an incongruent “Committeeto oversee the International Oversight Committee.  They intended to cover up their mistakes with entities made up of their own members, to leave the fraudulent election in impunity and to have a “report” in their favor. Otherwise, they would have had to adhere to the Oversight Committee’s recommendations putting the court made to favor correismos interests at risk.

This incongruence was followed by the audacity as Paulo Rodriguez, shamelessly stated that the designation of judges had been conducted with “transparency”. Tania Arias claimed,

"This is a closed case. The elections were conducted within the constitutional framework and found to be legitimate by the Judicature Council and the National Court of Justice”.

In other words, disregarding the findings of the International Oversight Committee and tarnishing said report, they felt that the numerous proven irregularities could be buried by the simple opinion of some incompetent officials who were obligated to hide the truth or face expulsion from their coveted government posts which demands unquestionable loyalty and submission.

The “fake” or “unqualified” judges were protected by their mentors

The final report issued by the Committee confirmed all the accusations set forth by the Assemblyman Andres Paez who demanded the recusal of all the judges who had been favored and who he labeled as “fake”.  However, these “judges” were protected by their mentors. President Correa played deaf and allowed the issue to blow over during the New Year holiday while his cousin Pedro Delgado fled the country. The President of the National Court of Justice came out in a staunch defense of the “judges” in question thereby proving his complicity in the judicial fraud.  The Judicature Council never dealt with the issue, it didn’t even respond to the request for recusal. 

On the other hand, all of the judicial challenges filed against these judges were in vain because all the lawsuits fell into the hands of the same vicious circle of the correista judiciary.   

The new National Court of Justice was appointed without the participation or the supervision of the Oversight Committee; it was done ignoring the observations of the determined anomalies made during the appointments of the various justices as well as the inadequate procedure used during the management of the 10 discretionary points of the Council members that could benefit or disadvantage the candidates, according to the regimes interests.
VIDEO:Assemblyman Andres Paez on the International Oversight Committee’s final report that supports his accusations
Merino Bloopers
The aspiring candidate Wilson Merino before the Judicature Council addresses his position on “the administration of justice”

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