Judicial Reform in Central America: Prospects for the Rule of Law

  • Rachel Sieder
  • Patrick Costello
Part of the Institute of Latin American Studies Series book series (LASS)


During any transition to democratic rule, the institutional structures of democratic governance must be developed and stabilised. A fundamental aspect of this process is the establishment and strengthening of the rule of law, by which, in a liberal democracy, we understand a system of guaranteed and enforced rights and obligations applying universally to all citizens. The rule of law is both a mechanism whereby limits on the exercise of state power are ensured and accountability of rulers is guaranteed, and a set of rules which regulates relations between society and the state and between individual citizens. As Pilar Domingo has noted, ‘the connection between an operative legal system and a democratic process is highly relevant, precisely because of the emphasis on the principles of law-abidance and rights protection which lie at the heart of constitutional democracy’.2 In order for a democratic order to become consolidated, the rule of law must become an accepted requirement of governmental practice and of everyday life.


Judicial System Attorney General Criminal Investigation Truth Commission Judicial Independence 
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Copyright information

© Institute of Latin American Studies 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Sieder
  • Patrick Costello

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