June 11, 2007

Northwestern Law Students Visit Ecuador, Study Judicial System

Northwestern law students meet with the staff from the Latin America and Caribbean Division’s Criminal Justice Project in Quito, Ecuador, in mid-March


A group of Northwestern University School of Law students recently spent twoweeks in March observing the Ecuador Criminal Justice Project in Quito. Their visit wasone stop on a larger tour studying the legal issues of foreign countries aspart of the International Team Project program. 

The focus of the student's visit was the independence of Ecuador'sjudicial system, which faces persistent instability and corruption because ofan ongoing constitutional crisis and a poor understanding of the transitionfrom an inquisitorial to an adversarial system.

The staff of the Criminal Justice project, including Country DirectorCharles Caruso, provided the students with an in-depth description of how casesdiffer in Ecuador since the change to a more adversarial system in 2001, andalso explained how frequent wrangling between Congress and thejudiciary—especially over elections—can limit progress in the development ofthe new system.  The students had the opportunity to meet EcuadorianSupreme Court judges and the directors of civil society organizations. The students have returned to the U.S. and will be compiling theirresearch and publishing articles about their findings. 


For more information about the students’ visit or about Ecuador CriminalJustice project, please contact Charles Caruso, at <carusoch@staff.abanet.org>.