Bolivia: Statement by the Spokesperson on sentencing former interim President J.Áñez

(Source: EEAS)

On 11 June, former interim President of Bolivia Jeannine Áñez was convicted in first instance to ten years imprisonment in the so-called “Golpe de Estado II” case.

According to the preliminary observations by the mission of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bolivia, the proceedings did not fully respect the due process rights of Mrs Áñez. The OHCHR pointed out that the criminal definition of “failure to fulfil duties”, a crime for which Áñez was convicted, was excessively broad and ambiguous. There were also problems with the excessive and not exceptional use of preventive detention, the access to witness evidence and the virtual and hybrid format of the hearings. The OHCHR indicated that holding trials in absentia should be avoided, and that the participation of numerous prosecuting parties had affected the procedural balance.

These findings are symptomatic of structural deficiencies in the Bolivian justice system, as reported by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, in May 2022, as well as by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Expertswhose recommendations the government committed to implement.

During the 31 May High-level Dialogue, the European Union took note of the wish of the Bolivian government to undertake a reform of the justice system. The European Union stands ready to cooperate with Bolivia on this undertaking, under its programme launched in 2021 and through possible future actions.

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