The “legal wars” in Latin America have been raised from the ideology of lawfare by which part of the American establishment began to use the procedural and penal rules for the media and judicial denunciation of political leaders and social activists. Persecution with tools of the penal system has examples of political proscription of leaders of Latin American countries, and representatives of social sectors who demand structural reforms, and also human rights defenders.
The hypothesis to analyze is that the ultimate goal of this type of process is the consolidation of disciplined hegemonies in the social, political and economic spheres. The impact on the national capitalist sectors is dragging on a process of capture of the flagship industries. The paper will attempt to capture the different experiences of criminal prosecution of the opposition, the violation of inter-American human rights standards, and possible economic effects concomitant with the process denounced.
The goal of the present paper is to illustrate how lawfare is happening in Latin America and specifically in Ecuador. Lawfare was first defined as “a method of warfare where law is used as a means of realizing a military objective” (Dunlap, 2001), whereas today is in the broad sense understood as the use of “legal norms to try to achieve or consolidate political gains” (Guilfoyle, 2019). Our research will focus on the analysis of seven court cases promoted by the Ecuadorian State against the so called “correístas” political faction but observed by international organizations. Our hypothesis is that lawfare is being used in the broad sense in Ecuador to obliterate the political party that constitutes an obstacle to the current government and its intentions to impose a neoliberal economic agenda and bring back the US as the hegemonic geopolitical actor.
This contribution aims at investigating to what extent and how collective trauma has occurred to protesters during the October 2019 pacific demonstrations in Ecuador. I will address the importance of access to justice and early and politically sensitive psychosocial interventions for victims. The analysis will include an examination of the new forms of State violence in Ecuador and its psychosocial consequences. The study´s main hypothesis is that trauma survivors in Ecuador have been affected by traumatic effects and secondary victimization due to 1) the impunity of the State agents, 2) the lack or insufficient access to physical and psychological services, 3) stigmatisation and political intimidation. The psychosocial impacts of the current political violence in Ecuador and other Latin-American countries is under-researched. It is crucial to investigate these new forms of violence in order to ensure justice for victims as well as adequate and effective trauma and recovery services.
The political persecution in Ecuador has two faces. First, political opponents are criminalized, incarcerated or forced to exile. Second, their political rights are restricted. This contribution will discuss the second point, the restriction of political rights, by studying one specific type of restriction: the inclusion of term limits. I will discuss whether there is a human right to re-election. I will conclude that there is no autonomous human right to re-election in international human right law, but term limits do amount to a restriction of political rights. Being a restriction, term-limits should satisfy the “strict proportionality test” applied by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. I will demonstrate that the re-establishment of term limits in Ecuador did not satisfy the Inter-American Court’s test, because it failed to comply with constitutional requirements, and because it aimed at banning the political opponents of the current regime.
Judicialization of politics is one of the greatest obstacles to our democracies. What must be resolved in the political sphere is put in the hands of the judges. They can provide a legal solution, but it will be an unlawful solution and with an insurmountable democratic deficit. The judicialization of public affairs implies that these issues are particularized, that is, deprived of their collective dimension. When what is judged is the electoral competition itself, then justice becomes politicized and used as a weapon of war. The term lawfare comes from a work published by the General of the US Air Force, Charles Dunlap. Broadly, it describes this phenomenon as the use of the law to obtain certain results that would otherwise require the use of military force. That is, to use the law as a weapon, for example, through international sanctions or, as seen in Latin America, to prosecute political leaders without respecting due process to get them out from the political competition.