HomeNewsBriefBolivia Prosecutors Sacked in Attempt to Clean up Judiciary
BRIEF

Bolivia Prosecutors Sacked in Attempt to Clean up Judiciary

BOLIVIA / 6 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Bolivia's firing of seven state prosecutors and a recent UN report lambasting corruption in the justice system highlights an institutional weakness that is increasing Bolivia's vulnerability to transnational organized crime.

The seven prosecutors were removed from their posts after eight district attorney offices in La Paz department were investigated by the Attorney General's Office for irregularities, reported La Razon.

Among those who lost their jobs was Patricia Santos, the head prosecutor for the district of La Paz, the seat of the country's government. 

The investigation found there were hundreds of complaints of irregularities -- including corruption and poor treatment of clients -- concerning state prosecutors. Bolivia's Attorney General said that more firings may follow in the coming weeks. 

This clean-up in La Paz follows a highly critical report (pdf) recently released by the United Nations Human Rights Office, which described widespread corruption in Bolivia's justice system and said that reforms implemented in 2011 had done little to improve things. While presenting the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bolivia Denis Racicot called 2014 "perhaps the worst" year in recent memory for Bolivia's justice system, reported EFE.

Bolivia's judicial reforms allowed the country to elect judges for the first time in history in 2011, but spurred criticism that this would politicize the judiciary, rather than make it more efficient. In January, President Evo Morales said he hoped to hold a referendum on judicial reform, adding, "justice has become worse in Bolivia." 

InSight Crime Analysis

A corrupt judiciary is among several institutional weaknesses that could further enable organized crime networks to gain a stronger foothold in Bolivia. Last year, criminal defense attorneys in the city of Santa Cruz told InSight Crime that prosecutors and judges can be bought off with payments of between $20,000 to $50,000. 

SEE ALSO: Evo's Challenge: Bolivia the Drug Hub

The removal of the seven prosecutors in La Paz nevertheless comes as a positive sign that Bolivia is continuing efforts to clean up its judiciary. Shortly after President Morales announced plans for his referendum, the head of Bolivia's anti-corruption ministry identified dozens of prosecutors and judges who were under investigation for accepting bribes from alleged drug traffickers. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 13 NOV 2017

A new report details how defense attorneys in Guatemala are capitalizing on the slow pace of judicial proceedings to…

BOLIVIA / 20 NOV 2012

Bolivia has seized 34 tons of cocaine so far this year, an increase on 2011, and indicative of Bolivia's increasing…

BOLIVIA / 24 SEP 2014

A riot that left four people dead in one prison, and the escape of four inmates from another facility, have…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…