4 Inter-American Court, that principle is applicable to administrative matters, in that they represent the State’s exercise of punitive power. They add that the freedom from ex post facto laws entails not only that actions and omissions be identified as offenses, but also that the procedure and possible penalty be defined. Specifically, the petitioners submitted the following arguments: - - - There was no action or omission that constituted an offense in law. Although it was claimed that a transitory provision was applicable, it was in no way admissible with respect to the justices of the Supreme Court. They note that the transitory provision in question, No. 25 in the Constitution, spoke exclusively of public officials with fixed terms of office. The arguments used by some members of Congress for pursuing their termination at the special session were alleged “acts of corruption and political clientelism.” Both accusations entail offenses for which complaints could have been filed with the Public Prosecution Service for regular proceedings to be pursued. The resolution adopted by the National Congress does not, however, indicate what accusations were made against the Supreme Court justices. The procedure was summary in nature and did not even follow the established format for impeachments. Thus, neither the resolution, nor the authority that adopted it, nor the way in which it was reached were provided for in the Constitution or in law. 17. Regarding the right to judicial protection enshrined in Article 25 of the Convention, the petitioners state that the amparo constitutional relief provided for in the Ecuadorian Constitution meets the requirements of a “simple, prompt, and effective recourse” set out in that article. They note that as the Court has ruled, such remedies must serve to protect the rights set out both in the Convention and in states parties’ constitutions and laws. The petitioners’ arguments on Article 25 of the Convention can be summarized as follows: - - - Although the amparo was applicable, a decision made by the Constitutional Court ruled that the only permissible action against Congressional resolutions to terminate officials in their posts was a constitutionality suit. Such suits are regulated by Article 277 of the Constitution, which sets requirements that are difficult to meet, such as being brought by certain authorities or by one thousand members of the public. In addition to not meeting the requirement of simplicity, such suits do not offer prompt recourse because no specific deadlines for resolving them are established. Regarding the effectiveness requirement, the petitioners submit that although Ecuadorian law provides for amparo relief and, in theory, it could be filed to challenge the effects of the Congressional resolution, to reinstate the Supreme Court justices in their positions, and to end the violations of their rights, in practice it is not an effective remedy. They explain that this can be seen in the denial of and inadmissibility rulings given against the amparo relief actions presented by the judges of the Constitutional Court, who were terminated in their duties some days earlier in similar circumstances. This “certainty regarding the uselessness of the remedy” is also indicated by the lack of independence and impartiality on the part of the judges who would hear the application. They report that at the request of President of the Republic, the Constitutional Court ordered the amparo suits closed, and one member of Congress threatened criminal action against the judges hearing the amparo filings lodged by the Constitutional Court’s judges, which would point to a similar reaction were the justices of the Supreme Court to file for the remedy. They add that in any case, the judges of the Constitutional Court who would have heard the amparo suits on final appeal were, on account of their appointments and commitment toward the government, lacking in independence.

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