Access to justice

Project completed
Farm in Santa Cruz - Bolivia. It was expropiated by the State for the crime of slavery © FDFA Foto:Miguel Canedo 2012

In its third phase the project for the empowerment of democratic institutions concentrates its work on the improvement of access to justice. The three components: implementation of legal arbitration boards, empowerment of public defence and the contribution to a constructive dialogue about judicial reforms enhances access to justice for vulnerable population groups and with it the claiming and enforcement of their rights.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Human rights
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Sector not specified
01.04.2013 - 28.09.2018
CHF 6'802'500

The new Bolivian Constitution, which became effective in 2009 provides for a progressive framework of individual and collective rights, first of all in benefit of women and the indigenous population.  The implementation of these rights, however, is advancing rather slowly due to a lack of institutional capacities owing to the Bolivian justice system, which shows substantial structural deficits. In order to realise the postulates of the new Constitution, in 2010 a structural reform of the justice system was started with the law of structural re-organisation of judicial power. The approaches to reform are offering Switzerland interesting options to provide a better access to justice for vulnerable population groups.


A contribution was made to the implementation of important elements of the judicial reform, which considerably improves the access to justice for marginalised population groups.

Target groups

Vulnerable population groups with a better access to justice.  With the conclusion of this phase approximately 200.000 citizens will have profited from a better access to justice.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Objective of component 1: The reform for the introduction of legal arbitration procedures is implemented systematically and has improved the access to justice for marginalised groups.
  • Objective of component 2: The institutional capacities of the National Agency for Public Defence (Servicio Nacional de Defensa Publica) have been strengthened, so that they can offer a good service to accused persons and expand their services to rural areas.
  • Objective of component 3: Interested actors of the government and the civil society have a constructive dialogue about experiences and prospects of the realisation of the judicial reform and cooperate in the creation of national politics.

Results from previous phases:  

  • 81.000 hectares of land have been signed over to the Guaranies who until now had to work under exploitative conditions on the land of big landowners.
  • Precedence were set for the compensation of indigenous workers who´s labour rights had been grossly violated.
  • The presence of the State in remote areas has been strengthened
  • Positive influence on legislation concerning air quality and support of concrete measures for air protection.
  • A network of 1.500 MR-instructors of the Bolivian police has been institutionalised
  • Creation and empowerment of 148 transparency-offices on different public levels for the enforcement of the right to information.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Foreign state institution
  • Central State of South East
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • SDC Field Office
  • Council of Magistrates, Public defence office, Danish cooperation,

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   6'802'500 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   6'855'076
Project phases

Phase 3 01.04.2013 - 28.09.2018   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.09.2009 - 31.12.2013   (Completed)