Twenty days after the criminal court made up of the national judges Iván León (rapporteur), Iván Saquicela and Marco Rodríguez announced in an electronic hearing the oral sentence in the Bribes 2012-2016 case , the process is paralyzed.
The immediate step that must be taken in this process is the notification of the sentence in argumented form and in writing to the procedural parties: Prosecutor’s Office, Attorney General’s Office and lawyers of the 21 convicted (see photo and box).
For this notification, the Court had a term of 10 days, counted from the day of the oral announcement (last April 7), that is, until April 17, it should have done so, but it has not done so because a legal provision is in force.
And the fact is that on March 16 the National Court of Justice (CNJ) ordered the suspension of the deadlines and terms provided for in the law for judicial processes, due to the health emergency, so that the on-site activities in the Judicial Branch were also suspended , except in flagrante delicto.
In legal practice, the term consists of the time established for the different administrative and jurisdictional actions, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
In turn, the term is the time for the same actions, but it is taken into account only on working days.
The criminal lawyer Paúl Ocaña, lawyer for the businessman Teodoro C., one of the accused in the Sobornos case, admitted that nothing can be done because both the Council of the Judiciary (CJ) and the National Court of Justice (CNJ) issued resolutions before the health emergency, through which they suspended the terms and terms.
“This means that the time determined by the legal norm, this is 10 days to be notified with the written sentence, has not yet started to run. Once the resolutions are lifted, I would think that they will run the 10 days , and if they have advanced it, I think they will notify us immediately, ”he said.
The situation is the same in all cases because the judicial units, except flagrancies, are closed, there is no way or to whom to present briefs, actions, demands, appeals, nor are administrative and judicial notifications received.
That means that times freeze until activities resume.
CNJ defines reactivation plan
The situation could change in a short time, since the CNJ, in order to protect the health of the servers and users of the justice system, has a protocol ready for the normalization of activities during the health emergency by covid-19 .
This protocol establishes general and mandatory safety guidelines for in-person work activities in the National Court.
The document defines procedures for entering the facilities, modality and hours for the working day, protective measures for people in a vulnerable state, cleaning and disinfection of spaces, following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for avoid the spread and spread of the coronavirus.
According to official information, this protocol will come into effect when the National Emergency Operations Committee (National COE) orders the resumption of activities.
The president of the National Federation of Lawyers of Ecuador, Ramiro García, wrote on his Twitter account that what will happen if judicial activity is resumed in person immediately “is that in a short time we will have a lot of officials and lawyers infected … ”.