UN Committee attacks Bolivian justice for lack of independence – MercoPress
UN Committee attacks Bolivian justice for lack of independence
The United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) released a series of findings on Friday that affected authorities in the Plurinational State of Bolivia as well as countries in other continents (including Sweden).
The CAT report highlights the positive aspects of the implementation by each country of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as many questions concerning the Committee concerning the shortcomings.
In the case of Bolivia, the Committee expressed concern at the insufficient progress in investigating allegations of torture, ill-treatment and excessive use of force during the 2019-2020 crisis and called on them current authorities to investigate all these acts, prosecute and punish all those responsible. The CAT also underlined the lack of independence and autonomy of the judiciary and the prosecution and urged the government to undertake urgent reform in this regard.
The Geneva-based body also said in its third report on Bolivia that the lack of independence has consequences in “criminal proceedings against political opponents”. by the criminal offenses of sedition and terrorism. The document also suggested that judicial authorities be appointed on the basis of merit, so that the country needs to “carry out urgent reform of its judicial system”.
Bolivia should review the current mechanisms by which judges and prosecutors are selected or dismissed, the document also said, as it stressed that court cases involving charges of sedition and terrorism were “based on extremely vague concepts.” . There are at least a dozen people in Bolivia in pre-trial detention for the crimes of sedition, conspiracy and terrorism in the case of the so-called 2019 coup, especially former President Jeanine ÃÃ±ez.
The Committee also called on Bolivia to review its anti-terrorism legislation, in particular the criminal offenses of sedition and terrorism, to ensure that they conform to the principle of legality and to international human rights standards.
Several international organizations such as the UN and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have denounced the use of legal proceedings in Bolivia as an instrument of persecution of political opponents, what is commonly referred to as the law.
Last August, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which investigated serious human rights violations committed between September and December 2019, noted a recurring lack of independence in the administration of justice in Bolivia, a structural problem that dates back to long before these times.
The Bolivian government has presented a plan for judicial reform which, so far, has not been well received by experts in the field.
Besides Bolivia, the other countries listed in Friday’s report are Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Serbia and Sweden.