Modernization of Criminal Procedures in South America Essay

The traditional modes of criminal justice and criminal procedures are gradually becoming obsolete as modern and more practical criminal procedures are being introduced. The reasons for the modification of criminal laws and procedures are among others; the expanding definition of crime and the means through which information can be transferred accurately and confidentially. Governments understand the importance of adjusting criminal procedures to incorporate simplicity and rapidity to reinforce their obligation to ensure the wellbeing of all individuals living in that nation. Straightforward procedures ensure that the time and during the criminal procedures are minimized. In addition, justice delayed is justice denied and in cases where an innocent individual is , a conventional, will actually be facilitating injustice.

The democratic republic of Ecuador in South America is one of the nations that have recognized the need for a more efficient criminal justice system. Improving the competence and efficiency of the criminal justice process has become a primary challenge for the Government of Ecuador.

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The Commencement of Criminal Justice System Amendments

The primary measures to modernize the criminal procedures in Ecuador began when Congress passed a new Criminal Procedures Code. The modernization began when the then President of Ecuador Jamil Mahuad proposed changes to the criminal justice system in December 1999 and these changes were fully supported and accepted by Congress in January 2000 (Winslow 12). After the new criminal system became fully functional in July the same year, the new Code essentially altered the Ecuadorian criminal justice system from an inquisitorial system to an accusatorial system (Silvana 14).

Previously it was the responsibility of the judges and the judicial staff to investigate crimes while the police helped in providing statistical and manpower assistance (Cano 8). The role of the public prosecutors was to keep an eye on the judges investigation and take into account all the advancements. In accordance with the new criminal system procedures, prosecutors have an extensive mandate in determining which cases are prosecutable in court (Schodt 62). The office of the Chief Prosecutor is legally responsible for probing and in crimes and criminal cases. The National Police unit still plays its investigative role in criminal cases but under the new Code, the Police are under the authority of the prosecutors office.

The judiciary now attends to criminal cases in oral sessions which are much more efficient when compared with the previous sluggish and mainly written inquisitorial system. The responsibility of judges has been condensed and they are now impartial arbiters in charge of the oral trials (Cano 9). In addition, there are no jury sittings in the new criminal justice system because the new systems primary objective is to fortify the justice system through the simplification of due process (McLeod 33). The new criminal systems structure does not only take into account the legal practitioners but also considers the accused individuals. The new Code is meant to preserve the rights of the accused in the course of criminal procedures for instancehabeas corpusand through the limitation of precautionary detention (Silvana 15).

THE 1999 Amendments

The government of Ecuador first received the amendment proposals through Congress in December 1999 after the president sanctioned the improvement of the criminal justice system (Winslow 15). Some of the key amendments proposed included:

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