1. Since 2011, Supreme Court judges have been elected by popular vote. In January 2015, President Evo Morales admitted the justice system had gotten worse under this arrangement, and proposed a referendum to modify the constitution and reform the justice system. 2. Under Morales (that is, since 2006), there have been five female Ministers for Justice – no men have held this portfolio. 3. Until 30 October … Continue reading Five fun facts about the Bolivia legal system
One of the differences I’ve noticed between Bolivia and Ecuador is that people don’t stare at me here. People don’t check me out head to toe and comment on my appearance, men don’t address me or try to get my attention in the street, I don’t get wolf-whistled by randoms or asked out by taxi drivers. I suppose it’s a good thing. Reflecting on that distinction … Continue reading About my body
The concrete walls soar straight up towards the sunny sky. It’s just like a fortress should be – a fortress founded smack bam in the middle of the city. San Pedro Penitentiary. IJM lawyer D says it’s a nasty place. “Horrible!” she affirms. Meanwhile, minibuses and motorbikes rumble past in the mid-morning traffic. The small side entrance opens and the unlit room we find ourselves in seems to … Continue reading Today I went to jail
It’s been a big week for IJM Bolivia. Three convictions in one week is no small feat, particularly given the context of delays and postponed hearings I talked about in my previous post. Our grand total for the year to date now stands at 13 – more than in any previous year we’ve been working in Bolivia. We’re praying in confidence for more before the … Continue reading One week, three convictions
Bolivia is currently reforming its justice system. On October 31, the Bolivian Parliament passed a new piece of legislation, called the Law for the Decongestion and Effectivisation of the Criminal Procedure System. In case you were wondering, it’s Ley de Decongestionamiento y Efectivización del Sistema Procesal Penal in Spanish – and “efectivización” isn’t a real word in Spanish either, hence the weird translation.
Process is at the heart of justice – as important as a just result is a just procedure to arrive at that result. I’ll confess I’ve forgotten a lot of what they taught me at law school, but this particular principal of justice has stuck with me. Working at IJM Bolivia, I am struck anew by how much of a paradox this often is. Continue reading “Effectivisation”: A post about the law (and reforming it)