Introduction – Prof. Douglas Cassel
Project Director – Juan Antonio Blanco, Ph.D.
Inter-American Bar Association – Bjorn Arp, Ph.D.
Daniela Salazar Marin, LL.M.
Dr. Jaime Vintimilla
Dr. Jorge Zavala Egas
Dr. Fabricio Rubianes Morales
Carlos Manosalvas, MSt.
Rafael Paredes Corral, LL.M.
Pier Paolo Pigozzi, LL.M and S.J.D (Candidate)
September 14th, 2016 (9:30AM to 1:30PM)
U.S. Congress – Washington DC
Rayburn House Office Building
Interamerican Institute for Democracy
2100 Coral Way. Ste. 500. Miami, FL 33145
Recurring complaints of court rulings that violate human rights in the so-called states of the 21st-century socialism, i.e., Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, followed by protests among opposition sectors and the press of the judicialization of repression and criminalization of politics, have called into doubt the independence of these states’ judicial systems, despite their efforts to continue posing as democracies.
According to the third article of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the “exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law,” and the “separation of powers and independence of the branches of government” are—among others—essential elements of democracy. Their absence makes democracy non-existent and gives rise to authoritarianism and dictatorship—hence the importance of scientifically verifying cases representative of the infringement or disappearance of these democratic elements.
In this context, the Interamerican Institute for Democracy and the Inter-American Bar Association—as think tanks whose objectives include the defense of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, justice, and the rule of law—have undertaken to prepare case studies of court decisions whose content and rulings may violate human rights. These are not political analyses, but rather strictly jurisprudential academic case studies that examine concrete legal records, proceedings, and rulings in light of upholding the human rights enshrined within the Universal Declaration reflected in the constitutional texts of all of the subject States.
This first study concerns “judicial decisions that infringe human rights in Ecuador,” and similar studies are proposed on judicial decisions in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. It aims to bring into the field of scientific evidence what has thus far been reserved to outcry in press reports, political debate and analysis—and shed light on some of the victims of human rights abuses by judges who, instead of securing those rights, infringed them. They are works by independent professionals who, through their legal expertise, contribute to the efforts to restore judicial independence and the rule of law in countries that—like Ecuador—have turned justice into a systematic mechanism for the abuse of power and infringement of human rights.
Wider knowledge of these cases and dissemination of the expert findings presented in the case are effective contributions to the defense of human rights, calling out governments that, having ceased to be democracies, pretend to use justice for purposes of political pressure and repression.