Trained doctors will be paid to operate on convicted criminals in El Alto after they are sentenced by a newly created court
Thieves will have their hands amputated and rapists will be chemically castrated under a controversial new judicial system for Bolivia’s indigenous people.
Trained doctors will be paid to operate on convicted criminals in the city of El Alto after they are sentenced by a newly created court.
And if medical professionals refuse to perform the surgery, lesser-trained indigenous doctors from the rural, highland provinces will be paid to take on the work.
Carmelo Titirico, leader of the National Council for Ayllu y Marka people, said the brutal punishment had been approved by the area’s indigenous community ‘as it’s the only way to stop those crimes’.
He told LV7 Radio: ‘Indigenous justice is handled differently, not between four walls as ordinary justice is. We will not be sending people to jail in these cases.’
He added he was aware the measures could lead to widespread rejection, but said his council would not back down.
Rapists will be chemically castrated, and thieves who are caught offending three times will have one of their hands cut off.
Titirico said the punishments were permitted under the ‘community justice law’ enshrined in the South America nation’s constitution promulgated by President Evo Morales in 2009
The new system is part of the ‘Law of Separate Jurisdictions’, in force since 2010, that defines the boundary between ‘community justice’ and the usual legislative process.
Community justice can only be dispensed against indigenous people, whereas the regular legal system can be applied to everyone.
The first court to work under the ‘community justice’ framework, made up of three men and women, was appointed in the city of El Alto, next to the country’s capital La Paz, this week.
But Titirico insisted that the court ‘respects human life’ and that the panel will not approve a person being put to death, even if they have been convicted of murder.
He also revealed that non-indigenous people who commit a crime inside the territory of an ethnic community would be judged by the ‘community justice’ framework.