Willachina, Tapuykuna, Chimbapurana, Killpichirina, Paktachina (Indigenous Justice)

In Ecuador there are two systems of justice. Indigenous Justice is an ancient practice of restorative justice and it is used in place of Cvil Justice from time to time. Today’s podcast is all about Indigenous Justice.


The Indigenous system is far from mob justice it is founded on five foundations.

Willachina (notice or request): The first thing a person who has been wronged should do is to verbally inform the indigenous leaders of their community what has happened, for example fights, robberies, or deaths.

Tapuykuna (examination of the problem): This part of the Indigenous Justice system consists of various procedures, such as determining the magnitude of the conflict, verifying the death in case of murder, determining who the guilty one is, and in some cases a search of the place where the crime took place.

Chimbapurana (confrontation of the accused and the plaintiff): The confrontation consists of two parts. First the president of the council installs the assembly, which is informed in detail of the situation and the conclusions of the investigation. The community is informed of who the accused are, where, how, and when the conflict took place. Secondly, the accusing party verbally informs the community about the facts that made them initiate the legal process and thereafter the accused party is allowed to defend himself and either accept or deny the accusations that are laid before him. If he accepts the accusations he is allowed to beg pardon in front of the assembly and thereby bring about a reduction or cancellation of the punishment.

In contrast to the Civil system of justice, in the indigenous justice there are no lawyers to represent the parties, but the plaintiff and the accused themselves speak as many times as is necessary to make everything clear so that there is no confusion at the moment when the guilty ones and the punishments are to be determined. In the final step, the leaders of other communities, the villagers of the community and the family of the parties involved intervene in order to advise the accused so that they do not continue committing crimes.

Killpichirina (determination of the punishment): Within the indigenous system of justice, there are numerous punishments, such as fines, returning stolen objects, payment of damages, cold baths, herbal whipping, community work, and in rare cases expulsion from the community.

Paktachina (enforcement of the punishment): The physical punishments are carried out by men or women who are honest and well respected. Generally the persons carrying out the punishments are elderly, family members, godparents, the president of the council, or other local indigenous authorities.

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