Ecuador declares judicial emergency for 60 days

Filed on September 6, 2011

QUITO - Ecuador President Rafael Correa declared a judicial emergency on Monday to ensure legal services at a time when his government is pushing through a controversial restructuring of the courts and judges.

Correa’s decree will last for 60 days and allow the government to mobilize the judiciary throughout the country to avoid a suspension in services after a reform removed some judges and left courts with less personnel.

The decree declared ‘a state of emergency in the judiciary to resolve the critical situation which is being experienced and to guarantee in due form the right to justice and ... to prevent an impending internal commotion.’

OPEC’s smallest member is aiming for a judicial overhaul the government says is key to tackling the overburdened system that has some 1.2 million cases in the pipeline.

Opposition leaders say the reforms are designed to give Correa more control over judicial appointments. Rivals accuse Correa of having an autocratic streak, which the leftist leader denies.

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