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Ecuador, like many other countries in Latin America, has been transitioning its criminal justice system from an inquisitorial to an adversarial model. In 2003, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) approached Ecuadorian government officials about training judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys on the new adversarial justice system. Between 2004 and 2014, ABA ROLI implemented a technical assistance program to help Ecuador address transition-related needs.
In 2004, as Ecuador’s dire human trafficking problem began to draw more international attention, ABA ROLI, with the support of the U.S. Embassy, held a conference on human trafficking in Cuenca. ABA ROLI then received a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to operate its anti-human trafficking initiative. Subsequently, with further support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the U.S. Embassy, ABA ROLI continued promoting criminal justice reform in the country. Among other activities, we organized international seminars on criminal procedure for judges, defense lawyers and prosecutors, and conducted a judicial ethics campaign, highlighting the importance of personal responsibility within the judiciary and encouraging increased judicial transparency.