Committee against Torture observes lack of independence and autonomy in the judiciary and calls for urgent reforms

The Committee Against Torture (CAT) published its concluding remarks on the third periodic report of the Bolivian state in Geneva, Switzerland, calling, among other things, for an urgent reform of the judicial system due to a lack of independence and autonomy.

The CAT points out in its report that this lack of autonomy of the judiciary and the public ministry has consequences for “criminal proceedings against political opponents” through the crimes of sedition and terrorism. Proposes the choice of judicial authorities on the basis of merit to avoid this situation.

“Carrying out an urgent reform of the judicial system to ensure its independence and respect for due process, in particular by passing a law on judges’ careers guaranteeing professional stability and reviewing the selection, evaluation and removal process of judges and judges Prosecutors, according to public and objective criteria, based on merit ”is one of the final points regarding the judicial system.

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The CAT reiterates its concern about the trials followed in the country with the crimes of riot and terrorism, which are typified “on extremely vague concepts”.

In Bolivia, in the case of the alleged coup I, at least a dozen people are in preventive detention for sedition, conspiracy and terrorism.

Eusebio Vera, attorney for former military chiefs General Jorge Terceros and Admiral Gonzalo Jarjuri, told the ANF that the sedition and terrorism case against its clients was ongoing and that the Ministry of Public Affairs had not yet brought charges of lack of evidence.

Former President Jeanine Áñez was also arrested after being charged with these criminal types. The government added further proceedings against him through the public ministry.

The Committee calls on the Bolivian government to “review its anti-terrorism legislation, in particular reform of crimes such as sedition and terrorism, to ensure that they are compatible with the principle of legality and international humanity”. Legal norms. “

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“The necessary resources for the proper functioning of the judicial authorities must also be guaranteed,” he says.

There are several international organizations such as the UN and Human Rights Watch (HRW) that monitor the use of justice in Bolivia as an instrument for persecuting political opponents.

In August, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which investigated the serious human rights violations committed between September and December 2019, identified a lack of judicial independence in Bolivia not only during that period but also as a recurring structural problem that has persisted for years.

The Bolivian government has put forward a six-axis plan to reform the judiciary in the country, which will consider redistribution of judges, equal access, independence, digital transformation of the management model, changing various regulations and deepening the ethics of public administration. The proposal is not trusted by any organizations or experts on the subject.

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