Monday, January 30, 2023

Bolivia: Opponents and advocates seek justice reform

LA PAZ, Bolivia ( Associated Press) – Bolivian lawyers and volunteers, with the backing of the Catholic Church, launched a signature campaign Wednesday to call for a referendum on judiciary reform.

“Enough! I Sign”, is the name of the campaign that seeks to collect 1.5 million signatures. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal provided books for collection of signatures, which will be done for 90 days as per law.

“The time has come for all Bolivians to be part of this crusade to reform this justice system,” said Juan del Granado, a lawyer and former mayor of La Paz. For its part, Monsignor Ricardo Santelas, vice president of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, explained that the Catholic Church “is supporting the referendum in Bolivia and making the transformation of justice a reality.”

Senator Luis Adolfo Flores of the pro-government Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) described the campaign as “stories” and said pre-selection of candidates for judicial elections due at the end of the year would begin in the Legislative Assembly. At the end of March.

Justice reform is one of the demands of the opposition and civic groups critical of President Luis Arce, which emerged from councils convened after the arrest of Santa Cruz Governor Luis Fernando Camacho.

Camacho was sent to prison on 30 December for four months while he was being investigated for alleged terrorism.

The governor of Santa Cruz – Bolivia’s economic engine – is accused of encouraging protests after the failed 2019 elections in which then-President Evo Morales sought a fourth consecutive term and which was called fraud by the Organization of American States (OAS) Was told. This sparked a political and social crisis that left 37 dead and forced Morales to resign and flee the country.

Subsequently, then-opposition senator Jeanine Añez assumed the presidency on an interim basis. Áñez was also jailed for alleged terrorism and was later tried and convicted for illegally holding office.

In parallel, a delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) arrived in the country to verify progress on the recommendations of an interdisciplinary group of experts on the 2019 crisis. Experts blamed the governments of Morales and Áñez for this. Violence that led to massacres, torture, summary executions and serious human rights violations.

Nation World News Desk
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