The ICJ condemns the imminent “trial” of Constitutional Court judges by Bolivia’s Senate, in proceedings that could see the judges sent to prison over politicians’ disagreement with a legal ruling.
The proceedings “violate the independence of the judiciary and the right to fair trial,” the Geneva-based organization wrote today in an open letter to all Senators and Deputies of the legislative assembly.
The charges in the trial, scheduled to begin on 21 October, are based entirely on a precautionary ruling by the judges that parts of a new law regulating notaries should not be implemented until the Court has an opportunity to hear a constitutional challenge to the law.
“The spectacle of dozens of politicians pretending to act as an independent and impartial criminal court, threatening to throw constitutional court judges in jail over a difference of opinion as to interpretation of the law, is incompatible with respect for human rights, the separation of powers, and the rule of law,” said Matt Pollard, Head of the Centre for Independence of Judges and Lawyers at the ICJ.
Constitutional Court Judges Soraida Rosario Chanez Chire and Ligia Mónica Velásquez Castaños are to be tried on 21 October, while proceedings against Judge Gualberto Cusi Mamani have reportedly been temporarily suspended for reasons of health. The judges were suspended from duty on 28 July. Continue reading Bolivia: politicians’ “trial” of judges an affront to the independence of the judiciary