File is not found

"UNODC has always been a strategic ally in the ongoing training of judicial officers”

Panama, October 6, 2020. From August 24 to September 20, 31 officers of the Judiciary Branch took the course "Legal Capacity of Disabled Persons", offered through the Project to Consolidate the Criminal Procedure Reform in Panama of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN) together with the Higher Institute of the Judiciary of Panama "Doctor César Augusto Quintero Correa".

Judges, magistrates, social workers, public defenders, victims' defenders, judges' assistants, magistrates, defenders and legal advisors participated in this training that combined the virtual and face-to-face modality.

"As a judicial body and as a country we have a legal obligation to comply with the provisions of the Disability Convention and this course helped a lot to improve the understanding of this human rights instrument," said Aracelly Vega, in charge of the Access to Justice and Gender Unit of the Judicial Branch, who participated in the seminar.

According to Vega, the course "met all the learning objectives, offered an extensive bibliography in accordance with the topic, and the face-to-face sessions and the virtual platform provided by the Instituto Superior de la Judicatura were very good, in addition to the logistical support and certification of the training".

Continuing education

The Magistrate of the Superior Court of Appeals of the Third Judicial District, Jorge Luis de la Torre, also participated in this activity: "UNODC has always been characterized by being a strategic ally in the continuing education of judicial officers, providing learning opportunities updated, relevant and generating reflection and knowledge on various topics necessary for the provision of our functions," he said

He added that the most recent course is no exception.

He highlighted "the dynamic (of the seminar) that articulates various competencies such as the handling of dogmatic, ethical knowledge and the modality of learning by doing or on experiences".

For Judge De la Torre, the course on the rights of persons with disabilities and their access to justice institutions, "not only updates the knowledge on a specific modality of human rights that serves a significant sector of the population, but also contributes to generate academic empathy, develops a sensitivity on the subject and provides the necessary input to implement the rights and obligations of all in a daily context.

Continue to improve

"This academic space served as a seedbed of ideas with an enthusiastic deontological vocation, to the extent that legal operators, located in various fields such as administrative, jurisdictional and academic, exhibited experiences with concrete cases," added the Magistrate based in David, Chiriqui.

The training included "an objective review of the progress made and areas in which work must continue to improve the application of the various legal instruments, as well as recommendations from bodies dedicated to monitoring and supervising the application of such instruments, such as the United Nations Specialized Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Other aspects of the course highlighted by the official were "the correct selection of topics, order, punctuality, the academic nature of the facilitator and his great vocation for teaching, always ready to respond to observations, questions and provide timely, relevant and highly scientific answers.

De la Torre is convinced that "updating is one of the obligations of any judicial operator, and, being that human rights are progressive, therefore, subject to constant evolution, it is necessary to have the updating in these areas.

He considers that legal operators must be oriented to provide a quality public service, "which invites permanent training; therefore, the subject, in addition to awakening interest from academia, is necessary in the practical field. For him it is "imperative" to apply all the concepts addressed in the course.

He expressed that he feels "honored by the invitation to participate in this great experience" and thanked "such a distinguished and unique learning opportunity".

Significant changes

Another attendee at the seminar on the legal capacity of people with disabilities was Michelle Vargas, head of the Legal Advice Office of the National Secretariat for Disability (SENADIS), who considered it "an excellent academic opportunity. She highlighted the simple language of the facilitators, who went from the most general to the most specific aspects.

This course "opened the compass, to make normative adjustments at the national level, in order to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their legal capacity without any discrimination due to their condition".

The official recalled that SENADIS must "promote a culture of equality, respect for human rights and compliance with the rules, laws and regulations in force in the Republic of Panama in relation to persons with disabilities and their families.

The knowledge acquired in the course will be put into practice in its work "since we must move forward with regulatory adjustments in our country, modifying or repealing any legal provision that limits the legal capacity of persons with disabilities. He added that "we are part of the actors, together with the Judiciary and civil society, to promote such regulatory changes, so these spaces must continue to achieve significant changes.