Military Trials in Human Rights Cases: Illegal and Reinforce Impunity
Since 2001, high-profile human rights cases have been transferred to the Bolivian military tribunal, although the Bolivian constitution and law do not authorize military jurisdiction in human rights cases.Article 48 of the criminal procedures code states that: "If there is doubt about the appropriate jurisdiction, as a result of concurrence or connection between special and civilian jurisdictions, the crimes should be addressed by the civilian jurisdiction." In spite of repeated Supreme Court and other legal rulings, military personnel have consistently refused to cooperate in investigations carried out by the attorney general’s representatives in the region, asserting that they are only answerable to internal military investigations. The military legal process does not provide for transparent court proceedings. Furthermore, none of the cases that have gone to military tribunals has resulted in a conviction.Using the military tribunal for human rights cases is illegal due to the lack of third party monitoring, but this process is used to give officers quick acquittals and ensure impunity.