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PGN and UNODC held a High Level Discussion on the Adversarial Criminal System

Under the Security Cooperation Project with Panama (SECOPA), funded by the European Union, the Attorney General's Office of Panama (PGN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), held a high level workshop, last August 19, 2016, with the general objective of exchanging points of views on the benefits, challenges and opportunities that an Adversarial Criminal System has for the Public Ministry, within two weeks of its implementation in the First Judicial District. In this event Chilean Embassy in Panama and Justice Center of the Americas (CEJA) join us.

The opening ceremony was attended by S.E. Mr. Milton Henriquez, Minister of Government; the Honorable Mr. Rolando Rodriguez, Secretary General of the Attorney General's Office; the Honorable Mr. Giovanni Di Girolamo, Charge d'Affaires of the European Union; Honorable Mr. Francisco Cruz Fuenzalida, Chilean Ambassador to Panama; and Mr. Amado Philip de Andrés, Regional Representative of UNODC.

As international speaker we has the presence of Mr. Andrés Montes, Chile National Prosecutor (in charge) and Mr. Jaime Arellano, Executive Director of the Justice Center of the Americas (CEJA), who spoke about the experience of Chile in the implementation of the  adversarial criminal system, and the current challenges of the criminal procedure reform in Latin America, respectively.

The panamanian experience was in charge of Ms. Janeth Rovetto, Anticorruption Prosecutor, and Ms. Gladys Moran, Prosecutor in Cocle and Veraguas, who spoke about the challenges of the implementation in the First Judicial District, as well as success stories in other judicial districts. We also had the intervention of Ms. Grisell Mojica Aguilar, Project Coordinator and Prosecution Team Leader of UNODC, who spoke about general aspects of the system.

It is important to note that the adversarial criminal system is based in the constitutional order of the Republic of Panama, which is recognized as a State of Law, and therefore must ensure that its criminal justice respect the fundamental rights of all citizens. Within this justice, the Public Ministry plays a leading role as head of the criminal proceedings and the prosecutors are responsible for the direction of the investigations, and had the duty to ensure the resolution of the criminal conflict by other alternative solution when it's possible.