Comparative law and justice/Chile

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Basic Information[edit]

Chile is located in Southern part of South America, between the countries of Peru and Argentina. The total Area is 756,102 sq km, with land making up 743,812 sq km, and water makes up 12,290 sq km[1] The main language spoken in Chile is Spanish, but they also speak Mapudungun, German, and English.[2] Their ethnic groups are not very diverse. White and White Amerindian make up 95.4% of the population. Mapache makes up 4% of the population, and other Indigenous groups makes up .6%.[3] Chile has a population of approximately 16,746,491 people.[4] The breakdown is 23.2% of the population is between the ages of 0-14.[5] Of these figures 1,966,017 are males and 1,877,963 are females.[6] The next group is between the ages of 15-64, which makes up 67.8%.[7] The last group is from the ages 65 and older, which is about 9.1% of the population.[8] As for religion, the vast majority is Roman Catholic which is about 70% of the population.[9] Also, the Evangelicals are about 15.1% of the population, followed by Jehovah's witness 1.1%, other Christians 1%, other 4.6%, and none is 8.3% of the population.[10] Some of Chile's natural resources include copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, and hydropower.[11]

Brief History[edit]

The first known discoverer of Chile was a European man named Ferdinand Megellan, on October 21, 1520.[12] During a second expedition in 1540 the capital city Santiago was founded by Pedro de Valdivia on February 12, 1541.[13] Chile was under Spaniard rule until the beginning of the 19th century, after Spain's king was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807.[14] The Chileans vowed their loyalty to the ousted king of Spain and decided to rule themselves until he was reinstated.[15] They declared their independence on September 18, 1810.[16] Chile struggled with many regimes, civil wars, and dictatorship to become the quality of country that it is today. During the early 1970's it experienced the first stages of dictatorship.[17] The Roman Catholic church became concerned with the human rights violations that were being made, and became a sanctuary for those who fought against the government.[18] In 1977 Pinochet became President, and declared himself Chief Executive of the State and Commander in Chief of the Military, starting many years of Chilean struggles.[19] Due to the economic collapse in 1982, demonstrations against Pinochet, different political parties rising up, all lead to Pinochet's demise.[20] He ruled until 1990.[21] Today, Chile is a very fruitful country with total democracy.

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit]

Chile's GDP for last year was $260 billion.[22] The GDP per capita was approximately $15,500.[23] Its labor force consists of 7.58 million people, and their occupation breaks down as 13.2% agriculture, 23% industry, and 63.9% services.[24] The current unemployment rate is 8.7%.[25] Chile exports about $64.28 billion a year, some of those products include copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, and wine.[26] As for imports they spend about $54.23 billion a year.[27] Some of those products are petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vechicles, and natural gas.[28] The life expectancy of the total population is about 77.53yrs, for males it's about 74.26yrs and 80.96yrs for females.[29] The birth rate is 14.46 births per 1,000 population.[30] The death rate is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 population.[31] The infant mortality rates is a total of 7.52 deaths per 1,000 live births.[32] Males make up 8.29 deaths per 1,000 live births and females make up 6.71 deaths per 1,000 live births.[33] From the age 15 and over Chileans can read and write.[34] That breaks down to Males about 95.8% and females are about 95.6%.[35]

Crime Rates[edit]

Chile is a country that has very low crime rates, due to the fact that it is one of the most stable countries in Latin America. The following data is from the United Nation's website. They retrieve their data from "police recorded offenses and identified victims."[36] "Statistics on the response of the criminal justice system are divided according to policy, prosecutions, court and prison statistics."[37] The Homicide rate (which only the years from 2003 to 2008 are available) is 8.1 per 100,000 population.[38] The Theft rate, last recorded in 2006 is 105.0 per 100,000 population.[39] The Sexual assault rate also last recored in 2006 is 76.3 per 100,000 population.[40] The rate for Trafficking in persons was recorded in 2008 and it is .1 per 100,000 population.[41] The family of law that Chile exhibits is like most of the countries in South America, civil law.[42] I believe that the public opinion of crime in Chile is that it's very low, not many outrageous crimes come out of there. Compared to the other countries in Latin America, Chile is a safe and stable place to live at. Due to the fact that in recent years Chile has been able to provide for its citizens, and has had strong leadership, these factors help keep crime rates down.

Governance[edit]

Chile is a Democratic Republic.[43] Their Constitution was enacted on October 21, 1980.[44] The President is elected by an absolute majority vote through a two round system.[45] In order to run for the Presidency you must, be born in Chile, be at least 40 years old, and are only eligible to run for two terms (8 years).[46] Congress is split between two houses, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.[47] The Chamber of Deputies has 120 members and they're renewed every four years.[48] Candidates for this must be at least 21 years old and have completed high school.[49] The Senate candidates must be at least 40 years old and must be a Chilean citizen.[50] Chile was under the dictatorship of Pinochet until 1990. The fact that a new Constitution was established in the early 80's allowed for the dictatorship of Pinochet to come to an end.


Elections[edit]

Only citizens of Chile are allowed to vote, it's voluntary and they must be at least 18 years old.[51] The President is elected by direct ballot, with an absolute majority of votes validly cast.[52] These elections are held 90 days before the end of the current President's term.[53] If there's two candidates, none obtaining more than half of the votes, a new election is held. [54] The election held is limited to the two candidates with the highest majority.[55] "In the senate, 38 members are elected through a closed party list majority, and 10 members are selected (8 years term)."[56] "Deputies are elected through a closed party list majority system (4 years term).[57]

Judicial Review[edit]

Chile does have judicial review.[58] Their criminal law system went from Inquisitorial to adversarial between 2000-2005.[59] Their Supreme court is made up of seven members.[60] 3 justices of the Supreme Court elected by the court by an absolute majority.[61] A lawyer appointed by the President, a lawyer elected by the senate, and 2 selected by the National Security Council.[62] Laws in Chile "may originate in the Chamber of Deputies or in the senate through a document from the President of the republic, or through a motion of any of their members".[63] "The President holds the exclusive initiative for proposal of laws related to changes of the political of administrative division of the country, or the financial or budgetary administration of the state."[64] Chile's Supreme Court is "entrusted with the executive, correctional and economic supervision of all courts in the nation."[65] A bill becomes a law once both chambers approves it and the President signs it.[66]

Law Enforcement[edit]

I would place Chile under the Centralized multiple uncoordinated police structure, due to the fact that the country is very organized and has low crime rates. Chile has two main national enforcement forces, the Carabineros and the Investigations police.[67] The Carabineros are national uniformed police, and their main areas of work are public safety and border patrols.[68] A branch of the Carabineros called the Intelligence Directorate is in charge of fighting terrorism.[69] The second police force is known as the Investigations Police, they wear civilian plain clothes to blend in.[70] They investigate crimes like fraud, theft, and murders, and they maintain airport security.[71] The Internal Security Advisory Council and the Strategic Political Advisory Council handle issues of national security, intelligence, and defense.[72] Citizens of Chile, journalists, and legislators have charged both the Carabineros and the Investigations Police of human rights abuses, such as arrests, prolonged detainment, torture, and abuses of power.[73] The executive branch of Chile has the authority over the nation's military, intelligence, and police agencies.[74] The President however, must appeal to the National Security Council to remove and replace heads of these departments.[75] In order to become an officer in Chile, you have to be a citizens of Chile, single, with no children, and maintain this status throughout the training (which lasts about 5 years).[76] You have to be between 17-23, meet the minimum height requirement, completed high school, be in good health, and complete a five year program.[77] You must also learn English, physical and defense training.[78] Chile has about 30,090 police men/women.[79] About 204 prisoners per capita per 100,000 people.[80] Being part of the military became voluntary as of 2005.[81]The military has about 502,500 reported guns, and the police has about 41,521 firearms.[82] In total Chile ranks 40th in civilian gun ownership, out of 179 countries.[83] They have participated in UN peacekeeping missions such as in the Middle East, Haiti, India, and Pakistan.[84] Many tribunals in Chile have jurisdiction over the military forces.[85] There is no jury trial, and their constitution provides right to counsel.[86] As for corruption, Chile ranks at 7.2 out of 10 (10 being very clean).[87]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit]

The Judicial Branch of Chile, like in the U.S is in charge of applying the law.[88] It hears the civil and criminal trials, and the highest body is the Supreme Court.[89] The Courts of Appeals serves as courts of second review for courts in their jurisdiction.[90] This is conducted by more than 350 judges specialized in juvenile, labor, criminal, and civil law.[91] The Courts of Constitutional Rights protect the fundamental rights of victims and defendants, and Oral Criminal Trial Courts determine the guilt or innocence of defendants.[92] I could not find anything telling me that the accused had to speak in a trial. Lawyers in Chile must have a law degree, which takes five years and a six months apprenticeship in order to practice.[93] "Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President and ratified by the senate" in Chile.[94] The Public Ministry defends the interests of the society, it is responsible for initiating criminal proceedings before the Criminal Trial Courts.[95] The judges in Chile are expected to know about the law, as well as criminology and psychology.[96] The Ministry of Justice studies the constitutional standards and "cilvil, criminal, commercial, and procedural legislation."[97] Also, it advises the President on the "appointment of judges, judicial officers, and other employees of the Judicial Branch".[98] The Ministry protects the rights of children and youth who have broken the law. [99] There are no jury trials in Chile, therefore the judges decide the innocence or guilt of the individual.[100] The prisoners sentenced anywhere from 61 days to five years have to work, and they are eligible for the benefits of social insurance. They have the option to work for the State, on contract, or on a lease and a portion is taken to pay for their keep.[101] All of the defendants in Chile have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.[102]

Punishment[edit]

In 2001 Chile abolished Capital punishments for ordinary crimes.[103] Corporal punishment is lawful at home and in schools, but it is forbidden in penal institutions.[104] They have financial sanctions on issues like landfill and proper disposal of waste.[105] The typical punishment for rape is a prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.[106] There are about 36,636 prisoners in Chile, about 6.3% are females.[107] Chile has more prisoners per capita than any other country in South America, this led for the country to open six new prisons in 2009.[108] Even though they continue to build new prisons there is still over crowding, in some occasions at twice more than the capacity, with inhumane conditions for the prisoners.[109] Currently Chile is working on having a rehabilitation system that will rehabilitate delinquent minors and tries to integrate them back into society.[110] Court fees in Chile usually reach up to 10.4% of the debt value.[111] The disparities in punishment and abuse can been seen more with the minorities of Chile, the indigenous Mapuche.[112]

Family Law[edit]

When a couple gets married in Chile, they enter into a contract where their assets are merged and the husband takes on full financial control.[113] As of 2007 this law has not been changed, although there have been legislations proposed to change it. In order to adopt a child in Chile, the perspective parents have to go through SENAME (the clearing house for adoptions). The parent of the child have lost all rights to the child, but blood relatives, or non related Chileans have priority over people from other countries. Then the match is made, they see if the match works, a judge decides if the adoption will be allowed (usually 6-12 months). Only married couples between the ages of 25 and 60 are able to adopt, and both adoptive parents must be at least 20 years older than the child.[114] The people of Chile are allowed to marry whomever they choose (but, homosexuality is illegal in Chile).[115] Most people have small weddings, and due to their deep religious believes Chileans usually get married in churches. There wasn't any divorce law in Chile as of 2004, but now a couple can divorce after a year of being separated.[116] The way that inheritance is divided in Chile, is that at the time of death of the father "half of his state goes to his wife, the other half is divided among the children, plus two parts for the mother." The age or gender of the beneficiaries does not affect anything. But until 2000 illegitimate children had little to no right to the inheritance, this law has since been abolished.[117] 79% of the households in Chile are run by men, usually the middle to upper class. They make decisions about their children's education, and financial matters. The households led by women are mainly seen in the lower class.[118] Chile has struggled in the past to have equal rights for many years, currently in most areas women have the same rights as men. They even elected a female President in 2006.[119] The elderly and children have laws to protect them against violence.[120] In Chile juveniles have a regulation that protects their "human rights, development, dignity, social integration, to be informed of their rights and responsibilities, to petition the authorities, to counsel, to practice the worship of their choice, and their to participate in recreational activities, periodic visits, and access to educational services."[121] The regulation also offers especial health services for women, and pregnancy and delivery concerns. As well as especial section for all juveniles that are 18 and over and have over six months left on their sentence.[122]

Human Rights[edit]

The following are the fundamental human rights under The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Pact for Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child: "1. NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO TORTURE OR TO CRUEL, INHUMANE OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT 2. ALL ARE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW AND ENTITLED TO EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION 3. NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO ARBITRARY ARREST, DETENTION OR EXILE 4. NO ONE SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO ARBITRARY INTERFERENCE WITH HIS PRIVACY 5. THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION 6. THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF OPINION AND EXPRESSION 7. THE RIGHT TO TAKE PART IN THE GOVERNMENT OF HIS COUNTRY, DIRECTLY OR THROUGH FREELY CHOSEN REPRESENTATIVES 8. THE RIGHT TO WORK, TO FREE CHOICE OF EMPLOYMENT, TO JUST AND FAVORABLE CONDITIONS OF WORK AND TO PROTECTION AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT 9. THE RIGHT TO JUST AND FAVORABLE REMUNERATION 10. THE RIGHT TO FORM AND TO JOIN TRADE UNIONS 11. THE RIGHT TO REST AND LEISURE, INCLUDING REASONABLE LIMITATION TO WORKING HOURS AND PERIODIC HOLIDAYS WITH PAY 12. THE RIGHT TO A STANDARD OF LIVING ADEQUATE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF HIMSELF AND OF HIS FAMILY 13. THE RIGHT TO SOCIAL SECURITY 14. ALL CHILDREN, WHETHER BORN IN OR OUT OF WEDLOCK, SHALL ENJOY THE SAME PROTECTION 15. THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION 16. THE RIGHT OF THE CHILD TO BE PROTECTED FROM ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION AND FROM PERFORMING ANY WORK THAT IS LIKELY TO ... INTERFERE WITH THE CHILD'S EDUCATION, OR TO BE HARMFUL TO THE CHILD'S HEALTH OR PHYSICAL, MENTAL, SPIRITUAL, MORAL OR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 17. MEMBERS OF MINORITY GROUPS SHALL NOT BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO THEIR OWN CULTURAL LIFE, AND PROFESS AND PRACTICE THEIR OWN RELIGION AND LANGUAGE"[123] In Chile, even though for several years under Pinochet's dictatorship reign, everyone had to struggle for their basic human rights. Today, it is the Indigenous people of Chile that are continuously discriminated against, especially when it comes to land ownership.[124] The indigenous people are also discriminated by the majority when it comes to social and economic affairs.[125] By reading several online websites, I think that the discrimination of the Indigenous people should be something that is widely discussed. I never would have guessed that a progressive country like Chile would be having inequality problems this day in age. Just because the Indigenous people are the minority in Chile and are less educated does not mean that they should lose their lands that were handed down for generations. I think it's a very sad ordeal. I also think that they just haven't learned how to treat each other as equals since they are no longer under a dictatorship. It might be written in law that everyone is to be treated equal, but with the discrimination of Indigenous people, and homosexuality being illegal, equality is not being exercised in Chile.

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