Photo: Sonny Abesamis

Insufficient Judicial Independence, Deformed Preventive Prison: The cases of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

In this study we analyze the main pressures and interferences to which Colombian judges and prosecutors are subject when they have to make decisions regarding the imposition of preventive detention

 

More than two decades after the beginning of the criminal reforms in Latin America, the application of pre-trial detention continues to generate strong tensions, as it faces the application of democratic and constitutional principles of the rule of law (such as the presumption of innocence, a reasonable delay in trial, and deprivation of liberty), on the one hand, with the need to have effective policies for citizen security and punishment of crime, on the other. Such a confrontation is clear in the media’s questions to the way in which the judicial systems apply this figure, since they have understood protection as a synonym of impunity, and hardening of the detention regimes in preventive detention in response to the problems of citizen security. In this context, the independence of judicial officials to decide on these measures ends up being seriously affected.

In this study we analyze the main pressures and interferences to which Colombian judges and prosecutors are subject when they have to make decisions regarding the imposition of preventive detention. This study is part of a joint effort of four organizations in Latin America that, coordinated by the Foundation for Due Process (DPLF), set themselves the task of (1) identifying the pressures of each context (2) to differentiate which of them may constitute genuine interference of the performance of judicial officials, (3) to acknowledge the impartiality of judges and prosecutors, and (4) to offer some public policy alternatives to address these challenges.


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