Of 94 complaints of corruption only eight have been convicted
SANTO DOMINGO. The Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus) pointed out that at 10 years after the penal process reforms the principle stumbling blocks for this process remain: the questioning of the independence of the judges, the lack of coordination between the Justice Department and the National Police, the crowded conditions of the jails, as well as the low-budget and salaries of the Judicial Power.
In an analysis of the criminal justice system, the executive vice president of Finjus, Servio Tulio Castaños, said that in spite of the great advances that have come about in the area of judicial independence, there persists the social perception that the tribunals are still not completely independent.
He cited the fact that they have found out that the “patronage and cronyism networks are connected to the tribunals and their personnel with the politicians and with the party machinery. In addition, the appointments tend to be based on political affiliation and loyalty, and not on the qualifications and training.”
Castaños underlined the fact that recent studies show that during the 2000 – 2013 timeframe, of the 94 complaints of corruption that were made, only eight had ended in a conviction against the defendants.
The organization from the civil society argued that a reform of the penal system is not feasible, if it does not go accompanied also with a reform of the National Police.
Castaños said that studies carried out put into evidence that more than 50% of the population, from the different strata of the Dominican society, say that police agents are involved in criminal activity.
“This significantly affects the number of complaints filed (promoting impunity) and undermines the legitimacy of the investigation work and the persecution of criminals,” he noted.
For the Finjus, the lack of coordination between the Justice Department and the National Police causes the weakness of the complaints filed before the penal justice system, giving as a result that the majority of the cases do not go past the instruction phase, as well as an accumulation of another number of case files with a greater level of complexity that remain without resolution, which he feels seriously prejudices the efficiency with which criminal incidents are punished.
Castaños argued that Law 194 – 04 indicates that the Judicial Power and the Justice Department should be assigned at least 4.10% of the internal income, including the additional income and surcharges established in the Income Budget and the Law of Public Expenditures, and that these should be divided into 2.6% and 1.44% respectively.
He underlined the fact that the Judicial Power, from 2010 until 2013 has been assigned a budget of 1.55%, 1.28%, 1.19% and 1.7% respectively. For the Attorney General of the Republic, since 2012 they have assigned 0.83%, 0.87% and 1.32%.
He deplored that the low budgetary assignments also extend to the other actors in the system, such as the National Police and the Public Defender, which between 2010 and 2014 only had 51.59% of the money requested approved in the budget.
Finjus considered that the “historical failure in the assignment of a budget to the Dominican criminal justice system puts at risk its independence in carrying out its labors, in addition to the fact that it goes against the legal dispositions that cover this area.”
The Finjus emphasized “acute crisis” in which the prison system is to be found. They said that 10 years ago, when the government began the implementation of the CPP (the new Criminal Process Code), the prison population totaled approximately some 13,000 inmates. By October 2012 there were some 23,300 persons deprived of their liberty in 42 detention centers whose installed capacity was for only 11,505 inmates. They indicated that at the present time there are more than 26,000 inmates and the number continues to grow.
Category: DR News |