Following the far reaching institutional reforms undertaken in the 1990s, additional judicial reforms have been introduced over the past two years in Bolivia.
They have made significant progress, both in the normative field with the entrance into force of the new Criminal Procedure Code and in the institutional ambit with the implementation of regulations on the judicial career.
In April 2004, the Constitution was amended to authorize a constituent assembly, scheduled for 2005, to rewrite the Constitution. The judiciary continues to be influenced by politics and is severely understaffed, as Congress only appointed 6 Supreme Court Judges, the Prosecutor General and 2 Counsellors of the Judicial Council on 17 December 2004.
The relations between the Country’s highest judicial authorities, namely the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court and the judicial Council are rather tense. The controversial Prosecutor General Oscar Crespo finally adopted the prosecutor career regulations in August 2004.
A public defence system and Integrated Justice Centres should boost people’s access to justice. In a landmark judgement on 17 May 2004, the Constitutional Tribunal awarded jurisdiction to civilian courts in cases of military forces accused of human rights abuses.
There are ongoing efforts to bring to trial former President Lozada for the abuses committed during his governance. Investigations into disappearances which took place while the country was governed by the military have been commenced.
Bolivia-Attacks on Justice 2005-Publications-2008 (full text, PDF)Attacks on Justice 2005Publications