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UN Welcomes New Supreme Court for Ecuador

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed Ecuador's appointment of new Supreme Court justices, saying he hopes the move strengthens the rule of law and the protection of human rights.

The secretary-general sent a representative to Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony for the 31 judges. They were selected by a committee created by Ecuador's Congress. International monitors observed the process.

Lawmakers dismissed 27 of the court's 31 judges in December last year, after President Lucio Gutierrez accused them of bias against him.

Mr. Gutierrez was himself removed from office in April of this year, after weeks of mass protests. Critics had demanded his resignation for what they called an abuse of power, after he replaced the ousted judges with his allies.