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Project for Attention to Victims, Witnesses, Whistleblowers and other Collaborators in the Penal Process

The right of access to justice is protected by a range of international treaties. Its implementation is conditional on the capacity of the public institutions involved in criminal justice to provide an efficient service of assistance and protection for victims and witnesses of crime. In addition, certain populations are particularly vulnerable, such as women, children, and adolescents, people with physical and mental disabilities, and the LGBTI community, among others. In this context, UNODC emerges as the UN agency responsible for providing technical assistance to Member States in accordance with the Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime.

In this regard, this initiative aims to strengthen the powers of the Public Ministry of the Republic of Panama in order to ensure appropriate assistance and protection for victims, witnesses, whistle-blowers and other collaborators in the criminal process.

The implementation of the project focuses, in the short term, on conducting a national assessment of the National Secretariat for Assistance and Protection to Victims, Witnesses, Informers and other collaborators in the penal process, which will lead to a plan to strengthen this institution. A medium-term implementation plan that will strengthen, among others, a component of protecting victims, having the use of dual bracelets, finally a paper on the sustainability of the building plan will be developed as the product is expected long term.

Given the importance of the issue of protection for vulnerable victims, the present initiative provides a specific component in cases of domestic violence. The goal is, therefore, to comply with the recommendations made by UNODC ROPAN in its Technical Advisory Opinion No. 009/2013. contributing to the design of policies to protect direct and indirect victims of this crime. In these cases, one of the main alternatives is the implementation of the electronic bracelet with dual technology in Panama. Thus, it would give the victim a device similar to a cell phone to subsequently receive continuous information about the aggressor's position.