media and on other political competitors, and undermining the quality and legitimacy of the electoral
process itself.
In this context, 
the Team recommends that the overriding objective of the D/G program in Peru should
be to support those actors and institutions that are most effective at providing checks and balances on
the exercise of state power.  
There are five spheres of influence in which checks and balances on
centralized power are normally exercised in a democracy: the Judiciary and the Legislature, local levels
of government, the media, and what we call  political society , which includes political parties as well as
various forms of civil society organization.  The report summarizes the situation in each of these spheres
and establishes the following set of recommendations:
  
Justice and Human Rights
In addition to its failure to uphold the rule of law, the judicial branch of government does not uphold
Constitutional limits on executive and legislative authority. While there is a lack of institutional capacity
to deliver justice, this is not the main strategic problem at present. Instead, the most immediate problem
is that judges and prosecutors are beholden to the Executive and allow politics and other non judicial
considerations to influence their decisions.  This fact has been recognized by the OAS mission in its
insistence on the need to dissolve the Executive Commissions currently overseeing this sector and bolster
judicial independence.
Until there is firm evidence of government commitment to reform in this sector, the Team recommends
that USAID maintain its decision to not provide direct support to judicial branch institutions.  Instead,
the Team recommends that USAID continue to work with both the 
Defensoria del Pueblo
 (Ombudsman)
and leading human rights organizations   actors that lie outside the Judiciary itself, but whose efforts to
hold government accountable in that sphere and others that have been judged successful in numerous
evaluations.  Together, the Defensoria and the human rights community draw national and international
attention to rights violations and abuses of power, and help to prevent such abuse.  Human rights
organizations are important allies of the 
Defensoria
, and the 
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos
Humanos
 in particular plays a key role in bringing together and empowering disperse civil society
groups.
In the near term, both of these actors should play a leadership role in monitoring government progress on
the OAS recommendations, and generating specific proposals for sectoral reform if the opportunity
arises.  Additionally, USAID should work with the human rights community and others to prepare for
when the present Defensor's term expires. Pressure should be applied to assure that the new Congress
names a competent successor. If the 
Defensoria
 is weakened or politicized, USAID would need to fill the
void with greater support for NGOs working on human rights and justice issues.
Civil and Political Society
Peruvian civil society is vibrant and diverse, but also fragmented and institutionally weak.  Although
nongovernmental organizations have taken the lead in defending democracy and human rights, there is a
notable lack of effective, intermediary level organizations capable of aggregating and representing the
diverse interests of the citizenry in the political arena, proposing viable governance alternatives, and
holding elected officials accountable.  In most democracies these tasks are assumed by political parties,
but also by organizations such as business and labor associations, NGO networks and other national level
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