October 10, 2007
During the first two weeks of October 2007, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s Latin America and Caribbean Division is holding trainings for prosecutors, police, and judges in four cities in Ecuador. The trainings include a mock trial emphasizing the necessity of close collaboration between police and prosecutors in building a successful case and the independence of the judiciary. These two key elements of adversarial criminal justice systems have not been part of the traditional approach to cases in Ecuador.
This is a follow-up training to one that introduced the accusatory criminal justice system to the same groups of trainees over the summer. Ecuador has reformed its criminal justice system to one that is similar to the Anglo-American system, but the transition away from the traditional system has sometimes sown confusion.
Under the previous system, judges took the lead in investigating criminal matters and prosecutors frequently waited for judges to take the lead. Judges were often seen as too close to cases and therefore biased players in the process. For this reason, judges often do not command the same respect—and prosecutors do not have the same independence to act—that they would in an adversarial system.
The mock trial includes detailed discussion of case preparation, so that the police and prosecutors thoroughly understand how they need to work together to build a solid case under the new system. The independence of judges from the police investigations is also emphasized. The trainings will also demonstrate that judges only begin to play a key and independent role when they rule on evidence and witnesses and other pieces of a case that prosecutors put together.
ABA ROLI is conducting the trainings in four cities throughout the country, ensuring that a wide group of Ecuadorian legal professionals are receiving the training. The final stage of the training will take place in January of 2008.
For more information about these trainings or about Ecuador Criminal Justice project, please contact Charles Caruso at [email protected].