GENEVA (23 August 2023) – A UN expert today expressed grave concern about violent attacks and intimidation targeting justice officials, including judges, prosecutors and court officials, and judiciary buildings in Ecuador, noting that such attacks have become more concerning in the wake of the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
Villavicencio was assassinated during a campaign event in the capital Quito on 9 August.
“I am dismayed by the great vulnerability of justice officials,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. “These threats appear to be especially pronounced for those who deal with organised crime and corruption cases.”
Between 2022 and 2023, four prosecutors have been assassinated and several justice officials have been subjected to intimidation and threats. Bomb threats were received at several judicial buildings. Thirteen attacks and threats against justice officials were registered in Manabí alone. Several criminal judges have also survived physical attacks and assassination attempts, the Special Rapporteur said.