June 2010
EWMI Awarded USAID Project to Strengthen Justice in Ecuador

EWMI is pleased to announce that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded it a cooperative agreement to implement the three-year Strengthening Ecuadorian Justice Project (SEJP). The project has four components: a) Improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system through the introduction of streamlined practices and procedures; b) Expand access to justice by strengthening the Public Defender’s Office (PDO); c) Increase citizen oversight of justice reforms; and d) Improve transparency and public confidence in the courts by strengthening the capacity of the Judicial Council.

Working closely with USAID, our governmental and non-governmental partners, and with other donors and implementers in Ecuador, the SEJP is expected to result in a more effective criminal justice system that will lower the numbers and length of pre-trial detentions, provide speedier public hearings and foster the more timely and fair adjudication of cases. EWMI will expand access to justice in Ecuador by strengthening the institutional capacity of the PDO, and by providing technical assistance to legal aid clinics. EWMI will increase citizen oversight of justice reform by managing a small grants program for NGOs to support efforts to monitor justice sector reforms and promote knowledge concerning citizens’ rights. EWMI intends to enhance the transparency of the judiciary by strengthening the capacity of the Judicial Council’s Disciplinary and Control Unit to function effectively under reformed laws and regulations.

EWMI is implementing the SEJP with sub-grants to Checchi and Co., a Washington-based consulting firm with extensive experience in Latin America; Participación Ciudadana (PC), a leading civil rights NGO based in Quito; Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), one of the top law schools in Ecuador; and Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), a human rights and legal reform NGO based in Argentina. EWMI’s Project Director is Patricia Esquetini Caceres, an Ecuadorian lawyer with extensive experience in implementing legal reform programs. USAID is providing funding for the project and administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 120 countries worldwide.