The resignification of habeas corpus in the recent case-law of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador

The Ecuadorian Constitution conceives habeas corpus as a judicial action designed to guarantee life, freedom of movement and personal integrity of a detained person. Moreover, since 2019 the Constitutional Court of the Ecuador has issued a series of judgments in which it has deepened its protective scope. Indeed, in a ruling of 2021 the Court evidenced a structural and systematic violation of human rights in the Ecuadorian prison system, in response to which it established mandatory standards to ensure the rights of detainees. This included the possibility in certain cases of ordering the release of sentenced persons. In this paper I will discuss the main aspects of this and other related judgements issued by such a Court, which address the country’s prison crisis through the broadening of the habeas corpus scope. This analysis will reveal the relevance of the Court’s decisions for the resignification of criminal law in regards to the appropriate safeguard of human rights.