Lasso presents a new law on the use of force to combat crime

Quito, Jan 24 (EFE) .- The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, delivered this Tuesday to Parliament a bill that will regulate the progressive use of force and offer legal defense to police officers investigated after the increase in crime in the last anus. “This bill has a set of regulations around five axes to modify those specific ones that refer to the fact that police action and police investigation can be carried out as quickly as possible,” the Minister of Defense said on Monday. Government, Alexandra Vela. He was referring to the announcement made the day before by the Ecuadorian president in Guayaquil, a municipality that, together with Durán and Samborondón, in what is known as Zone 8, have registered at least 77 murders so far this month, about twenty in the last week, according to local media. OBJECTIVE TO STRENGTHEN CITIZEN SECURITY Lasso will present to the National Assembly legislation that regulates the use of force, in addition to proposing reforms to legal bodies to strengthen citizen security and the fight against transnational crime. Among the announced measures are a reform of the Public and State Security Law with a modification of the assumptions for the progressive use of force, and that the police and military have the legal sponsorship of the State when they are investigated or prosecuted. The project will also include the promotion of penal reforms so that the investigations are, according to Lasso, “more diligent in cases where the suspect is a police officer or a military officer in the performance of his duties.” Under this same perspective, the Executive seeks to facilitate coordinated work between the National Police and the Armed Forces so that, in particular the latter, have participation and intervention protocols without the need for a legal declaration of a state of emergency. CONTEXT OF VIOLENCE The presentation of the project, prepared for months, takes place in a context in which a police agent died last week during an assault in Guayaquil, and another was sentenced to more than three years in prison in Riobamba (downtown) for kill two criminals in similar circumstances. The debate that both cases have given rise to has given wings to Lasso’s project, which also proposes including in the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code (COIP) the creation of the crime of terrorism for actions committed in centers of deprivation of liberty. In 2021, more than 300 inmates were killed in a series of clashes between gangs inside prisons that the government attributes to competition for the drug market, and homicides on the streets doubled. This Sunday, the Ecuadorian president replaced the chief of police Tannya Varela, who had become the first woman to lead the police institution. Among other proposed legal changes is also to combat overcrowding in prisons and strengthen management in detention centers. And that it is not necessary for a judge to notify the suspect when the Prosecutor’s Office requests his arrest for investigative purposes, in order to reduce the risk of flight. PROGRESSIVE USE OF FORCE In relation to the use of force, the Legislature has been analyzing since last year some proposals that contemplate how the security forces should act, including agents in the field of private security, in situations of deterrence and alert to possible crimes against citizenship. This type of debate increased as a result of the actions of the security forces and military personnel during the October 2019 protests in Ecuador, questioned by a report issued by the Ombudsman in 2021 and international organizations. On the proposals being debated by Parliament, the Minister of Government today asked the Legislative Commission for “help” to unclog the bottleneck that prevents their approval and that the National Police can count on “the essential tools to confront organized crime.” He also regretted that “at this time we do not have them and many of them are in the bills that are submitted to the consideration of the National Assembly.” Vela advanced that in the project that the president will present for consideration by the Chamber, some specific issues that appear within some legislative projects will be introduced, but that other provisions are unprecedented.

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