HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Transfers Judges to Combat Corruption in Judiciary
BRIEF

El Salvador Transfers Judges to Combat Corruption in Judiciary

EL SALVADOR / 22 SEP 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

El Salvador's Supreme Court has transferred 21 judges, including four that made rulings favorable to a prominent businessman accused of corrupting the justice system, a clear sign that the high court supports the current crackdown on impunity by the Attorney General's Office.

The Supreme Court removed the judges from their posts in the capital, San Salvador, and nearby Santa Tecla on September 20 and ordered they be sent to outlying jurisdictions, reported El Faro.

Four of the judges had issued rulings that benefitted Enrique Rais, a well-known businessman who was arrested in late August alongside former Attorney General Luis Martínez and several other suspects. The Attorney General's Office alleges the group conspired to obstruct justice in cases related to Rais' business interests, including a state-subsidized waste management firm.

Less than a week after the arrests, a judge ordered Rais and the other suspects be released from pretrial detention and placed under house arrest, a move that was questioned by the Attorney General's Office. Martínez remained in prison due to pending charges in a separate case. The judge, Evelyn del Carmen Jiménez Solís of the Seventh Court of Peace, is among those who were transferred to other districts, reported El Diario de Hoy.

The Supreme Court's judicial investigation unit currently has 43 open cases into eight of the judges who were moved, according to La Prensa Gráfica.

InSight Crime Analysis

None of the judges were dismissed by the Supreme Court, but its decision to transfer them does send a strong message that the the court is seeking to prevent corrupt judicial officials from derailing the case against Rais and Martínez. As noted by El Faro, the court's decision is likely in response to recent comments by Attorney General Douglas Meléndez, who said he didn't trust the judges in San Salvador to handle the high-profile case.

“It is not just the gangs that have cliques; the judicial system has them too,” he told reporters shortly after pressing charges against Rais. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

Beyond a show of support to the Attorney General's Office, the decision also sent a message to the judiciary: the Supreme Court will not protect judges who provide legal cover to well-connected suspects. 

Still, the transfers are just that; the judges remain on the bench, albeit in a different jurisdiction, and no criminal charges are being brought against them. While the ruling is a step towards reducing judicial corruption, more action will be needed to change the status quo of impunity for the country's elites. 

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

CARIBBEAN / 11 APR 2022

Kidnappings in Haiti have increased during the first three months of 2022, continuing a grim surge that began last year…

ARGENTINA / 3 FEB 2021

As workers across Latin America struggle to stay afloat amid economic strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, loan sharks offering…

BRAZIL / 23 NOV 2022

A lack of regulation surrounding how crypto-currencies are used by organized crime has left Latin America dangerously exposed.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…