The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) is working hard to monitor and evaluate judicial independence of Central America.
Judicial independence and transparency do not go hand-in-hand in Central America. This is the first conclusion we can draw from the most recent DPLF study: “Law vs Reality. Independence and judicial transparency in Central America and Panama”. The second conclusion is that there is a considerable gap between policy and its effectiveness, which is most notacible in regards to judicial independence: although there is a legal framework to guarantee it, this guarantee is not met in practice. There are various reasons for this, among others, the lack of mechanisms to enforce the rules and the existence of a political culture of disrespect for the law.
This study has an empirical base which affirms the best bases for judicial independence in the region. This research was conducted in the six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) according to a methodology of indicators and a thematic guide that allowed comparisons with homogenous criteria and showed the persistence of common problems, such as the politicization of the system and the appointment process, and the excessive power of the Supreme Court that threatens internal independence and limits transparency and accountability.
One of the main contributions of this study is that it breaks down the elements that make up both external and internal judicial independence, and identifies – for each country –the barriers that limit their full capacity.
Read the full report here. (comparative report, conlcusions, recommendations and methodologies)