A group of Northwestern University School of Law students recently spent two weeks in March observing the Ecuador Criminal Justice Project in Quito. Their visit was one stop on a larger tour studying the legal issues of foreign countries as part of the International Team Project program.
The focus of the student's visit was the independence of Ecuador's judicial system, which faces persistent instability and corruption because of an ongoing constitutional crisis and a poor understanding of the transition from an inquisitorial to an adversarial system.
The staff of the Criminal Justice project, including Country Director Charles Caruso, provided the students with an in-depth description of how cases differ in Ecuador since the change to a more adversarial system in 2001, and also explained how frequent wrangling between Congress and the judiciary—especially over elections—can limit progress in the development of the new system. The students had the opportunity to meet Ecuadorian Supreme Court judges and the directors of civil society organizations. The students have returned to the U.S. and will be compiling their research and publishing articles about their findings.
For more information about the students’ visit or about Ecuador Criminal Justice project, please contact Charles Caruso, at <[email protected]>.