Elvira Maria Restrepo Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis: Fear and Distrust

By Rivas, Angela | Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, July 2005 | Go to article overview

Elvira Maria Restrepo Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis: Fear and Distrust


Rivas, Angela, Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies


The state's failure to provide justice to its citizens and the lack of a reliable criminal jurisdiction are frequent descriptions of the exercise of justice in contemporary Colombia. Similarly, impunity and corruption have become almost mandatory concepts when assessing and examining the Colombian justice system. Without denying these statements, but going beyond them, Restrepo provides novel elements to address and assess state justice in the Colombia of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Like other Colombian scholars working on similar topics, Restrepo situates her examination of Colombian state justice within a context marked by intertwined forms of violence. However, this book adds conceptual elements to the existing literature on Colombian justice by addressing the Colombian criminal jurisdiction not only--and not mainly--as an inefficient and corrupt system but rather as a system driven by fear and distrust.

According to Restrepo, both impunity and corruption might be better understood as effects of widespread fear. It is not only that fear affects justice by preventing both victims and witnesses from making denouncements; fear also affects the performance of justice by inhibiting and discouraging judges from administering justice or by forcing them to do so in a rather partial way. Thus, "In the case of prosecution, a judge is often faced with two options: to become a villain by being an accomplice to corruption or a hero who risks sacrificing his life or tranquility in the name of justice and the common good" (p. 169). These effects of fear relate closely both to a more or less generalized distrust of the Colombia juridical system and state justice and, alternatively, to the prevalence of private justice.

To explain the historical roots of the problem and to account for its current impact on the exercise of justice, Restrepo organizes her argument around three main components. The first deals with the origins of fear and distrust in their historical, political, and legal contexts. The second discusses the current crisis of criminal justice, providing a detailed diagnosis of the Colombian system of criminal justice, as well as an illustrative account of the ways in which, in such a context, both violence and the use of private justice have as their main effect widespread fear. The third part examines the effects of fear and distrust in the criminal jurisdiction. It focuses on two salient elements: the impacts of drug trafficking, particularly the successful use of fear against judges by drug lords, and the role of justice in a country that has experienced decades of irregular war.

Restrepo presents data from a variety of sources, including both official and private surveys, legal documents, academic works, and personal interviews.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Elvira Maria Restrepo Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis: Fear and Distrust
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.