1’790,593 files dating from 1700 and historical documents rest in the General Archive of the Judicial Function. The digitization of causes is a priority for this year. With an approximate investment of $ 3 million and after four years of intense work by the Council of the Judiciary (CJ), Ecuador has a General Archive of the Judicial Function, considered a benchmark in Latin America.
In an area of 3,948 m2, in the north of Quito, 128,930,700 pages of 1’790,593 judicial records recovered from subsoils, ducts, bathrooms, corridors and warehouses of judicial offices that served as a file of cases are guarded. It is about documentation of judicial processes from 1700 to 2004, which were found by 90 technicians and specialists.
They are judicial causes of the matters: Civil, Criminal, Transit, Family, among others, as well as of all the ex-commissaries of the woman, of the country. They also found historical documents such as special stamps, information, even files and books that date back to that year on canon law and were in Latin
The material was intervened by curators and experts, who pointed out that these are extremely valuable documents. The stamps, according to experts, talk about how justice was at that time where different types of stamps were put on for different causes and leaves, even had filigree impressions (mark that is made on paper that is visible to transillumination).
This information is in an area of restoration and care. “The important thing is that we have recovered our judicial history,” says the Secretary General of the CJ, Andrés Segovia, in charge of the entire process. He points out that the next step is to digitize the archives and the possibility of implementing the Judicial Function Museum. He admits that there were judicial processes that were in terrible condition, wet, with humidity, leaves incomplete, deteriorated, because they were eaten by rodents and it was impossible to recover them. “The number has not been quantified.”
The files are divided into two groups: that of liabilities, which are the cases or court records closed, extinguished or executed, which are those recovered; and the assets, which are in process, and which serve judges, secretaries, lawyers and citizens, who are in the units. Segovia highlights the usefulness of an organized file, since it allows in an agile manner and in good condition to find the processes, such as the disappearance of the Restrepo brothers, or the Alfaro Vive group, requested by the Truth Commission that investigated the facts.
Indicates that between five and 10 minutes it takes a judicial officer to search a file in the files and thus meet the requirements of users. Before finding a process it took hours, days and, in the worst of cases, it could not be found, since the mechanisms for storing documents were anti-technical and disorganized and there was no adequate infrastructure.
“From 2014 to December of the previous year, 86,045 user requirements have been processed.” Precise Soria that the service is free, “is a certified copy or bodies of the files”, which are delivered in maximum 24 hours. According to the president of the CJ, Gustavo Jalkh, having transparent and accessible archives guarantees a Judicial Function with the best ethical standards and not only in access to information, but it is also the reflection of an institutional culture. (I)