New Website in Peru Covers Court Decisions on Access

13 May 2011

A new website in Peru — Justicia y Transparencia (Justice and Transparency)(http://www.justiciaytransparencia.pe) — gathers and organizes all the judgments of the Constitutional Court of Peru on access to public and private information.

Suma Ciudadana said its intention is to ensure that national jurisprudence becomes a useful tool to help to disseminate the right of access to information.

Justicia y Transparencia is a database that presents in a user friendly way all the judgments of the Constitutional Court and organizes them in 4 sections:

–          General Information: Where users can search for judgments using the information that identifies a specific case or a group of cases.

–          Legal Categories:  Where users can search for judgments taking into consideration the legal categories developed by the Constitutional Court.

–          Employed Legislation: Where searches can be based on the legislation utilized by the Court in the specific case.

–          Relevant Judgments: A selection of cases that Suma Ciudadana considers important because of the issues addressed and the quality of the justification.

“We are pleased that the Constitutional Court has decided to spread Justicia y Transparencia from its website like other public and academic entities,” according to an announcement by the group. (See further explanation in Spanish here).

Explaining the initiative, Suma Ciudadana said:

Justice and Transparency – Background

In Peru, the right of access to information has been recognized in the Constitution as a fundamental right almost two decades ago and the Law on Transparency and Access to Information has been approved almost ten years ago. Even when there are some important observations to the legislation, there is a wide consensus that recognizes that it complies with the basic standards related to the issue. Nevertheless, it is very clear that this recognition is having a little impact on public administration and society in general.

Although the legislation recognizes the right, regulates the procedures and delimitates the general outlines of this fundamental right, it is the jurisprudence that fills this normative with content describing the importance of this fundamental right and providing clear parameters of its extension and limits.

In Peru, the judiciary and the Constitutional Court are the public entities responsible of providing a solution -through jurisprudence- to problems related to RTI. This situation gives special significance to the jurisprudence of “habeas data”, the judicial procedure created to protect citizens from the threats and violations to their RTI.

The Constitutional Court has produced valuable jurisprudence on habeas data that develop fundamental issues related to the subject giving a complete and adequate interpretation of the RTI. According to the law, Judges must interpret the extensions and limits of the fundamental right of ATI based on the decisions of the Constitutional Court. Yet, Constitutional Court jurisprudence is not impacting as much as necessary in the judiciary, the public administration and society in general.

We believe that one of the great challenges for the promotion of RTI in Peru is to disseminate the Constitutional Court decisions among specific audiences, such as judges, public servants, universities and CSO. With judges, the challenge is to give them some useful tools that allow them improve the quality standards of their decisions on ATI based on the criteria and interpretations developed by the Constitutional Court. With public servants, the challenge is to identify common problems and plausible solutions to those problems that can derive on the implementation of public policies that promote access to information. With civil society the challenge is to provide them valuable information that allows them understand the concept of access to information, the limits and exceptions for the exercise of this fundamental right and the procedures and mechanisms for its exercise and defense. Academia is a key ally to succeed in these challenges. Universities are the ones who are capable to monitor the compliment of the legislation and to develop and disseminate knowledge based on the analysis of the Constitutional Court jurisprudence on ATI.

For those means it is crucial to have access to complete, reliable, updated, and systematized information about the interpretation and application that the Constitutional Court gives to the basic concepts and the legislation and regulations on ATI. That is why Suma Ciudadana considers so important to gather, systematize and disseminate the contents of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court on habeas data. That is also the reason why Suma Ciudadana has built the “Justicia y Transparencia” database, a complete and user friendly tool that systematizes the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court on habeas data and allows users to search for the judgments based on the general information of the file, the subjects developed or the legislation applied in the cases.

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