Strengthening Criminal Justice Reform in Panama

Current Project Status:
Project Status as of 2010:
Latin America and Caribbean
Thematic Area:
Criminal Justice Reform
Result Area:
1-3. Criminal justice systems: more accessible, accountable and effective
Project Start Date:
31 Dec 2008
Project End Date:
31 Dec 2011
Project Description
The Government of Panama is transitioning from an inquisitorial to an accusatory criminal justice system. To support this major transition, the Government of Panama has requested a loan and other financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank in the amount of approximately US$30 million dollars (including in-kind support from the Government of Panama). This support will facilitate the restructuring of the Public Ministry, Judiciary and other key institutions involved in the application of justice throughout the country. The Public Ministry is taking a leading role in the adoption and implementation of a new strategy focusing on four key areas: (1) public access to the judicial system, (2) judicial system reform, (3) judicial official career stability and (4) transparency of the judicial system. This initial phase of this strategy is expected to be implemented over a course of three years and will be executed through several commissions established by the Public Ministry. Among the priorities of concern that the commissions will need to address are improving: a. General management of the Public Ministry; b. Attention and quality of services provided to the public; and c. The quality and professionalism (with particular emphasis on ethical standards) of officials within the Public Ministry. With this project, UNODC will assist the Government of Panama to ensure technical compliance with the requirements of the IDB loan and will provide the Public Ministry with technical and legal expertise on various aspects of the criminal justice reform effort.