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Manu militari – La Tercera

Is it understandable or chilling that, on the occasion of insecurity, violence, murders, criminal gangs, etc., a very high percentage of people consider that the way to confront it is by taking justice into their own hands? The data that motivates this question arises from a survey carried out by the Gabriela Mistral University and Black&White, which concludes that 83% distrust their judicial institutions, prosecutors’ offices, Public Criminal Defender’s Office and courts of justice and 17% believe that the best way to Doing justice is an eye for an eye, or the Law of Retaliation. In modern language it would be called “privatisation of punishment.”

This is a phenomenon that can be explained not only as a rebellion against the rule of law, or a citizen transgression that challenges those who administer power, but as a consequence of the inability (or impotence) of government agents to repel, with the means they are supposed to have, a growing and indomitable crime. This being an incontestable fact that is experienced daily, it is necessary to examine the causes. In this regard, a striking fact from the survey is that, of the universe consulted, the vast majority do not speak from their own experience but from what they feel, see or think. And this is of such seriousness that it certainly justifies taking justice into one’s own hands by responding to a crime of which one is a direct and current victim, but also the incitement to organize to replace the State in its obligation to provide protection to people. . When we talk about organizing to combat crime, no one could imagine that it would be done with clean hands, much less that the rules to be followed would be disciplined by a regulation on the use of force, like the one currently being discussed in parliament. Hands up or I shoot him? Certainly not.

Returning to the question about the causes that explain the poor perception of justice systems – which is not the same as judging the ineptitude of the State – this is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that many accused of acts of violence do not are captured and that dangerous criminals are subject to insufficient precautionary measures such as night confinement or monthly signing. It also influences the fact that the Ministry of Justice said that it was convenient to act in this way because it would relieve overcrowded prisons, or when the Public Ministry is hit by a judicial failure or by criticism of its lack of diligence. The promise of justice is insufficient when it is realized that it does not work. This only fuels disillusionment with the judicial system and incubates the idea of ​​defending oneself. In Latin this defense is called “manu militari”. But we would like it to come from the military, not from defenseless civilians.

By Alvaro Ortúzarlawyer

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