Vance Center Supports Judges in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico

April 2022

(Photo Credit: Jaime Chavez Alor)

Earlier this month, Latin America Policy Director Jaime Chavez Alor traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia to conduct in- person sessions with judges as part of the ‘Judges as Peacebuilders’ project along with the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) and the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), co-organizers of the initiative.

The project aims to promote peace and social stability through supporting and empowering judges and other justice sector actors in their efforts against corruption and impunity while upholding judicial independence. The meetings with the judges identified three thematic areas for the project: judicial security, anti-corruption within the judiciary, and judicial diversity.

The project so far has conducted a series of four virtual thematic roundtables, and the recent in-person events included sessions to review recommendations resulting from those events to address challenges in the three thematic areas at the national and regional levels. Trial and appellate Judges from the Colombian Corporation of Judges and Magistrates, the Guatemalan Association of Judges for Integrity and the Mexican Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges participated in the events.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Prof. Diego García Sayán participated in the sessions in Bogotá, Colombia, and credited the Vance Center for providing pro bono assistance to his reports on the participation of women in the administration of justice and the challenges for judicial independence from the COVID-19 pandemic before the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly.

Based in the information from the virtual and in-person events, the Vance Center and its project partners are finalizing three discussion papers. These will enable national, regional, and international civil society organizations, human rights activists, lawyers, embassy officials and others to elevate their arguments and recommendations to the policy level and to serve for advocacy. The project partners expect that the papers and recommendations (both technical and policy-related) will inform the design of new initiatives by the partners in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.

The project partners will present the discussion papers at a Working Session at the World Justice Forum in the Hague in late May.