Ecuador: El Rol De Los Juzgados De Infracciones Aeronáuticas De La Dirección General De Aviación Civil

Last Updated: 17 March 2017
Article by Karen Sichel

Llama la atención la naturaleza jurídica que tienen los denominados Juzgados de Infracciones Aeronáuticas, principalmente porque no son parte de la función judicial, sino de la Dirección General de la Aviación Civil (DGAC); sin embargo, son considerados, para efectos de contravenciones aeronáuticas como "Juzgados". Ante ello, existen dos opciones: ¿se trata de una figura inconstitucional que viola el principio de unidad jurisdiccional? o ¿se trata de una institución administrativa con potestades sancionadoras comunes, con una errónea denominación? A continuación se analizan ambas opciones con el objetivo de determinar cuál es efectivamente su naturaleza y finalmente, cuál debería ser el rol de este tipo de instituciones en la Aviación Civil. 

En primer lugar, resulta imperativo diferenciar entre la potestad sancionadora de la Administración Pública y, la potestad jurisdiccional. La primera, se refiere a aquella potestad administrativa que permite que las decisiones, en este caso de la DGAC, sean ejecutables sin la necesidad de una decisión judicial que las vuelva imperativas. Así lo explica García de Enterría: "...La Administración no necesita someter sus pretensiones a un juicio declarativo para hacerlas ejecutorias; sus decisiones son ejecutorias por propia autoridad... de modo que las mismas imponen por sí solas el cumplimiento"  [1]

Distinta es la potestad de ejercer jurisdicción, entendiéndose a esta como aquella potestad pública de juzgar y ejecutar lo juzgado. De conformidad con el principio de unidad jurisdiccional, esta puede ser ejercida únicamente por la función judicial y, por las cinco instituciones que prevé la misma Constitución (Corte Constitucional, Arbitraje, Tribunales de Conciliación y Arbitraje en materia laboral colectiva, Tribunal Electoral y la Justicia Indígena)[2]. Dado que los Juzgados de Infracciones Aeronáuticas de la DGAC no se prevén como excepciones, no podrían tener potestades jurisdiccionales, pues de tenerlas, sería inconstitucional.

Si se analizan las potestades de estos "Juzgados", es evidente que su nombre responde a una errónea percepción de la potestad sancionadora de la Administración Pública, por lo que no nos encontramos ante una figura inconstitucional. Ello, en virtud del principio in nome iuris que establece que"la cosas en el Derecho no se determinan por su nombre, sino por los efectos que surten." Esto ha sido reconocido por la Corte Constitucional ecuatoriana que ha establecido que: "No se trata técnicamente de un juicio pues no se configura como un litigio (controversia o contienda)... Sino que además quienes llevan a cabo este procedimiento tampoco son jueces", ya que no ejercen funciones jurisdiccionales propiamente dichas."  [3]

Queda en evidencia entonces, que estas instituciones lo único que tienen de juzgados es el nombre, lo que si presenta un reto es determinar cuál es el rol que estas entidades tienen en la Aviación Civil. Más allá de su nombre, lo que realmente preocupa es el accionar de estas instituciones, pues la norma les dota de amplias potestades para imponer sanciones a los particulares. Así, no resulta extraño encontrarse con infracciones de tipo abierto que permiten que el funcionario, el reglamento, o incluso un acto administrativo tipifiquen una conducta por la que se sanciona al privado[4]. Además de la evidente violación del principio de tipicidad, esto lleva a cuestionar ¿cuál es realmente el rol principal de estas entidades? ¿sancionar o prevenir? y quizás lo más preocupante: ¿qué conducta está incentivado la Administración Pública con la creación de instituciones con amplias potestades sancionadoras?

Si es que estas entidades no tienen potestades jurisdiccionales, si son entes administrativos, su rol principal debe ser el de facilitar la actividad aeronáutica y prevenir la negligencia por parte de los operadores aéreos. La sanción de los Juzgados de Infracciones Aeronáuticas, solamente debe darse cuando se afecte realmente al bien jurídicamente protegido: la seguridad operacional; de nada sirve que estas entidades tengan potestades sancionadoras para imponer infracciones al privado por temas meramente administrativos. Estos juzgados no deberían asumir un rol antagónico con los operadores aéreos, tanto las autoridades como el privado deben percibirse como socios para un fin común: realizar exitosamente las actividades aeronáuticas.

En conclusión, en el Ecuador urge un cambio de percepción respecto de las facultades de este tipo de instituciones públicas, de nada sirve iniciar procesos administrativos por conductas que en nada afectan la seguridad aérea. No se trata de asumir estas potestades y sancionar por sancionar, esto no solamente viola derechos constitucionales del privado (principio de tipicidad, favorabilidad, motivación, etc.); sino que, el excesivo control y la sobrerregulación interrumpe las actividades de los particulares y funciona como un desincentivo económico para no operar en el país. Finalmente, esto perjudica al ciudadano, que es el receptor de un mal manejo de la actividad aeronáutica.

Footnotes

[1] Eduardo García de Enterría y Tomás Ramón Fernández, Curso de Derecho Administrativo I, Madrid, Civitas Ediciones S.L., Undécima Edición, 2002, pág. 493
[2]Constitución de la República Ecuatoriana. Artículo 1 inciso tercero. Registro Oficial 449 de 20 de octubre de 2008.
[3] Sentencia No. 130-13-SEP-CC. Caso No. 1269-12-EP de 19 de diciembre de 2013. 
[4] Ley de Aviación Civil. Artículo 69, literal f). 

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