No other country in the world chooses the most senior members of its justice system by popular vote, but Bolivia first did so in October 2011. Despite the high voter turnout (nearly 80%), three of every five ballots were blank or null and void, and only two were cast in support of a particular candidate. As a result, no candidate garnered more than 10% of the vote, and most of those who were elected to serve as judicial authorities obtained around 6% of the vote. Sigue leyendo →
La Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa (AJS, by its English initials), the chapter of Transparency International in Honduras, is a Honduran anticorruption organization dedicated to fostering the Rule of Law in their country. In the recent public audiences for candidates to Honduras’ Supreme Court, AJS incorporated the Due Process Law Foundation’sidentified best practices for selecting high courts into a ranking system to help bring more clarity to the often opaque process.
Next week, the Congress of Honduras is expected to select Justices for the highest court in the land – the Supreme Court. The process for getting to this stage, however, has been a long one. Under the Honduran Constitution and other relevant law, a new Supreme Court is elected every 7 years, via a temporary selection body called the Junta Nominadora (JN). The JN is made up of 14 representatives of the country’s workers, professors, civil society organizations, the private sector, the Bar Association, the national Human Rights Ombudsman’s office, and the Supreme Court itself. To briefly summarize a complex process: the JN representatives are selected during the summer and fall, via direct appointment and/or voting by their peers. Once formed, the JN begins to accept and evaluate dozens – this time, close to 200 – nominations from a specific subset of attorneys (notaries). After the first round of review, the JN cut this list in half. Its final task was to further narrow this list down to 45 finalists to send to Congress, which it completed on Tuesday. The legislature now has until January 25 to pick 15 of these finalists to form the new Supreme Court. (According to the relevant law, the JN had until January 23 to submit its final list, but as this would only have given Congress 2 days to evaluate the candidates, it was under pressure to try to do so ahead of schedule).
This year has been important for Guatemala’s judicial system. A number of judicial posts are due to be filled in 2014, and so far this year, a new electoral tribunal and attorney general have already taken office.
In July, the selection process for Supreme Court and appeals court magistrates began. However, these two selection processes were rife with irregularities and controversy. On October 9, Guatemala’s Constitution Court (CC) issued a provisional ruling suspending the results of the two selection processes, thus taking an important step towards compliance with international standards and national law.