By Elvira María Restrepo (auth.)
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Additional info for Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis: Fear and Distrust
8 Source: Corporación Excelencia en la Justicia (1996). 79 Increasing the number of judges creates new posts, and thus fulfils the long standing tradition of judicial clientelism. 3 Increase in justice personnel, 1990–95 Total number of clerks and judges National management and administration Consejo Superior Courts and tribunals Supreme Court Consejo de estado Constitutional court Criminal instruction Fiscalía Total increase Relative increase (%) 1990 1995 26 352 40 932 1 239 1 480 – 17 230 118 271 – 7 494 – 654 17 740 181 251 115 631 19 880 14 580 55 Source: Corporación Excelencia en la Justicia (1996).
The Fiscalía is in charge of the investigation and prosecution of all crimes. Once the investigative phase is over the case is sent to the competent court for a decision. 4. The National Tribunal was the second instance of the regional courts until April 1999. 5. The delegate fiscales are agents of the Fiscal in charge of the prosecution of individual cases. 6. The regional courts had the same competency of circuit courts but dealt specifically and exclusively with crimes against the state such as terrorism, drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping until April 1999.
60 The appointment of judges: aristocratic and political clientelism Judicial independence – understood to be the relative autonomy of the judiciary from the rule of electoral majority and from the interference of other branches of power – derives from the role given to the judiciary to protect the rule of law from the other branches of power, and also from its social function of conflict resolution. Historically, the judiciary gained autonomy over the selection of judges in 1957 – previously, under the 1886 Constitution, judges were selected by the President of 24 Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis Colombia and appointed by the Congress following the Spanish colonial tradition.