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IDB approves $30 million for Guatemala criminal justice program

A $30 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank will assist Guatemala in financing a program to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and expand access to services.

The program will be carried out by an interagency board made up of the Judiciary, the Ministry of the Interior, the Attorney General's Office and the Public Defender's Office.

The program draws on the experiences of previous projects, such as the IDB-supported establishment of justice administration centers and justice of the peace offices in rural areas and the creation of arraignment courts open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which was funded by the European Union.

The loan proceeds will finance the construction of up to 13 integrated justice centers with 24-hour courts in the most densely populated and crime-ridden departments of Guatemala. Investments will also be made to build regional public defenders’ offices and to remodel justice of the peace offices, police stations and prosecutors’ offices.

To improve interagency coordination and transparency, the program will also support efforts to harmonize the systems criminal justice institutions employ to share, process and analyze information.

Another component of the program will improve the agencies’ ability to conduct scientific criminal investigations. Financing will be provided for training in forensic techniques, crime scene analysis, evidence verification and the use of advanced technology equipment, as well as for the purchase of specialized instruments and materials.

The loan approved by the IDB Board of Executive Directors is for 20 years, with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate.


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