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IDB approves $21.6 million for justice administration in Panama

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a $21.6 million loan to Panama to support the second stage of a program to improve the administration of justice.

The program, which will be carried out jointly by the Judicial Branch (OJ), the Office of the Prosecutor General (PGN) and the Office of the Solicitor General (PA), draws from proposals made by a government commission on justice, an institutional diagnosis and the final evaluation of the program’s first phase.

As part of the first phase, launched in 1998, regional judicial units were established in San Miguelito and David to expand citizen access to all services provided by the justice system, including innovations such as victim assistance offices and centers for alternative resolution of conflicts.

The PGN’s investigative capacity was strengthened by modernizing the Forensic Medical Institute and the construction of a judicial morgue and a center for safekeeping court evidence and seized vehicles.

A regional center for the modernization of public administration (CIMAP) was established to provide technical assistance and train public sector officials. The PA’s procedures were standardized and updated, as was its technological infrastructure.

The second phase will focus, among other goals, on strengthening the management of the participating agencies. New regional judicial units will be opened in Colon and La Chorrera. A model for alternative resolution of disputes will be developed for indigenous groups, and mediation and conciliation centers will be established in Changuinola, La Chorrera, Darien, Ngobe Bugle and Cocle.

The OJ and the PGN will train officials to assist people with special needs and members of vulnerable groups. They will also start a program to educate citizens on justice services, emphasizing civil rights, mechanisms to exercise them and conflict resolution.

The PGN will design a new management model for the Office of the Attorney General and train its officials. The PA will establish community mediation centers in 10 districts with high levels of conflict and will train local authorities and community leaders in mediation techniques.

The loan is for 25 years, with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate. Local counterpart funds for the program will total $8.4 million. For the first phase of the program the IDB approved an $18.9 million loan.


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