Peru: Blind Lawyer Strives to Be Judge

Edwin Béjar Rojas is a 30 year-old lawyer, and resident of the city of Cusco, Perú. Since the age of 17, Mr. Béjar has been dealing with visual impairment, yet that has not been an obstacle for him to achieve important goals in his professional life.

He graduated first of his class from San Antonio Abad University Law School [es]. He has also successfully completed a Master's Degree in Civil and Procedural Civil Law, a Master's Degree in Criminal and Procedural Criminal Law, a Doctorate Degree in Law and Investigation, as well as additional specialized studies in Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Municipal Law, Tax Law, Labor Law, and Procedural Constitutional Law. In addition, he has worked as college professor.

As the blog Discapacidad en Acción [es] points out:

Cabe indicar, que el Abog. Edwin Bejar Rojas, es un profesional conocido en la ciudad del Cusco, por ser ejemplo de superación y su trabajo a favor de las personas con discapacidad visual, como profesor y especialista en nuevas tecnologías para personas con discapacidad visual (proyecto REDSOCIAL); y por su constante apoyo a las Organizaciones de Personas con Discapacidad.

It should be noted that lawyer Edwin Bejar Rojas is a well know professional in the city of Cusco, due to his willigness to overcome [his impairment], and his work on behalf of other people with visual handicaps, and he specializes in new technologies for visually impaired people (REDSOCIAL Project), and his constant support to various organizations for handicapped people.

Last July, he attempted to run for a post as Deputy Provincial Prosecutor in Cusco, but the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM of its initials in Spanish) rejected his nomination because of his disability, as reported by the blog of Law School Federated Center of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru [SP]:

El 12 de junio, postuló a la plaza de Fiscal Adjunto Provincial en la ciudad de Cusco, cumpliendo con los requisitos establecidos por ley e indicando su discapacidad. Inicialmente, fue declarado postulante apto para dar el examen escrito el 19 de julio. No obstante, por decisión del Pleno del CNM, fue excluido de la postulación por motivo de su discapacidad visual e impedido de rendir su examen, [aunque] hoy no existe impedimento [legal] para que personas con discapacidad sean magistrados.

On July 12th, he ran as candidate for the post of Deputy Provincial Prosecutor in Cusco, as he fulfilled the legal requirements, pointing out his impairment. At first, he was found to be a suitable candidate, suitable to take the written test on July 19th. Nevertheless, the Plenary of the National Council of the Magistracy rejected his candidacy due to his visual disability, and he was not allowed to take the test [even though nowadays] there is no [legal] obstacle for a person with disability to become a judge.

In July 2009, the National Council for the Integration of People with Disabilities (CONADIS for its initials in Spanish), which is part of the Ministry of Women and Social Development, weighed in and asked for an explanation for the rejection of the candidacy of Mr. Béjar. The National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights (CNDDHH for its initials in Spanish), interceded [es] as amicus curiae before the Third Civil Court of Cusco, where Mr. Béjar filed a appeal for legal protection lawsuit.

Finally, on November 13th, 2009, a court in Cusco ruled [es] in favour of Mr Béjar ordering the CNM to give him the test with the “same degree of complexity” as any other applicant. In addition, the ruling also orders the CNM to guarantee the technical facilities that Mr. Béjar may require in order to take the test. The CNM has filed an appeal to the court's decision.

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