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USAID Sponsored Report: Ecuador’s Judiciary System Most Trusted in South America

Ecuador Bucks Regional Trends & Sees Growing Public Trust in Judicial System Thanks to Extensive Government Reform Initiatives

Washington, D.C. (February 5, 2015) – The latest edition of a bi-annual report on democratic governance in the Western Hemisphere published by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and financed primarily by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has found that Ecuador ranks number one in South America and number five in Latin America with respect to citizens’ trust in the national government’s capacity to ensure citizen security and the enforcement of the rule of law.

“I am pleased that this report shows that fellow Ecuadorians are seeing first-hand the positive results of our Government’s massive investments in judicial reform and public safety in recent years,” said Nathalie Cely, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States. “But we must not slow down our efforts. Ensuring that our citizens have complete faith and confidence in the rule of law is a top priority for our Government. I look forward to working with more partners in the United States to further facilitate technical and educational cooperation on these issues and to showcase the initiatives Ecuador is undertaking.”

The latest AmericasBarometer report, which is carried out every two years by Vanderbilt University and was originally published in December 2014, includes surveys conducted in 28 countries across the Americas with more than 50,000 total interviews. The study includes questions about citizens’ perception of safety and their trust in their judiciary systems in relation to the countries’ economies, political institutions and democracy.

The study found that Ecuador was among the few Latin American countries that broke from the regional trend of declining citizens’ trust in the judicial system. Instead, the study found that Ecuador experienced a significant improvement in how much faith citizens have in the country’s judicial system to punish the guilty—leading South America with 47.9% trust, followed by Colombia 42.7% and Uruguay 40.8%. Ecuador also ranked second in South America in the level of public trust in national courts, with 46.3%. Between 2012 and 2014, Ecuador saw improvements in public trust in the National Police, the courts, and the justice system.

Maria Victoria Llorente, Executive Director of Fundación Ideas para la Paz and expert on conflict resolution and peacebuilding at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. told Voice of America during a recent visit of Ecuador’s Minister of Interior, Jose Serrano that there is no doubt that Ecuador has implemented systematic efforts to improve the entire system in charge of providing public safety.