Yeni Berenice Reynoso: “It has been very difficult to prosecute and process the Diaz Rua case…”
SANTO DOMINGO. The District Attorney of the National District, Yeni Berenice Reynoso expresses, almost like a complaint, how difficult it has been to carry out the investigations against the former minister of Public Works, Victor Diaz Rua, against whom charges of corruption have been filed.
She confesses that political leaders have attempted to have influence in the case, although they have not achieved anything, and she reiterates that there have been attempts to pressure her.
“I can tell you that the Diaz Rua case has been very difficult to prosecute and process, above all because it is assumed that in a case of this magnitude would not be handled by a single prosecutor, but rather a team, and we have been prosecuting it alone, doing everything practically alone,” said Raynoso, as she took part as the guest on Dialogo Libre, which is hosted by the editor of the Diario Libre, Adriano Miguel Tejada.
The District Attorney of the National District regrets that she has to go through all this process (of pressures) when the District Attorney’s office is only trying to do its job, complying with the criteria that is has. But she aspires to not leave the Justice Department until this is finished.
Her greatest desire is, and she says with pain in her voice, “that no prosecutor of the District has to live through what I have had to live through. I hope that this happens to no prosecutor and that we have a greater level of institutionalism.”
Reynoso feels that the country still has a lot to go with regard to the fight against corruption, an issue in which there is not advancement due to the lack of political will according to what she says.
“I am not pleased with the efficiency that we have had in the fight against corruption because there has not been any efficiency. We have nothing to show on this issue,” she complains.
For the District Attorney, the corruption is one of the biggest challenges of the Justice Department. She is convinced that this agency has not been efficient enough in the prosecution and punishment of this type of crime. And without forgetting the weight of political will, she justifies the deficient performance in the obsolescence of the judicial instruments. “One has to practically do miracles in order to charge people with some types of crimes.”
Her commentary makes reference to the definitive dismissal which she ordered of the complaint on charges of corruption filed against the former President Leonel Fernandez and the Global Democracy and Development Foundation by Guillermo Moreno, of the political movement Alianza Pais.
Yeni Berenice, who says that she does not belong to any party, and as a career prosecutor she does not even give opinions on politics, said that her decision in that case was not based on pressures, but rather on the judicial criteria that she has maintained since her days as a student.
The Code that we have, no matter that it arrived in the Dominican Republic in 1880, this Code is from 1804, and it is doubtless that it has to be adapted. Now, if you ask me if I believe that the issue of the problems that has arisen and that the deficiency in the fight against corruption is due to the absence in an up to date legal instrument that corresponds to these times, I would tell you that no, this contributes to strengthen it.”
The District Attorney showed her interest that the fight against corruption is not continually put off, since in her was of seeing things, it crosses many important and central issues of the country’s development.
She tells how in the streets the people question her as to why the kids from the barrios are arrested, and the “big wigs” are not, describing a feeling-she admits-that is reality and not perception.
“We cannot continue as a society by postponing the issue of the struggle against corruption, or by making political use of it. We have to take it on as an issue that affects the credibility of the country and that affects the system.”
Judges are excessive in being gracious with the parties
The District Attorney for the National District questioned the degree of permissiveness which on occasion the judges have with the parties involved in the judicial processes.
She feels that the magistrates are overly gracious, both with the lawyers as with the prosecutors, and this is not helping the system because the parties are adapting to this. This level of condescension-she says-is seen in the daily indicators of the system and as an example she points out the number of postponements of hearings.
On one side, she explains, the Department of the Public Defender does not have sufficient personnel to take on all of these cases, and because of this every day you see postponements, whether it is because the public defender did not appear in the courtroom or because the prosecutor did not carry out the order to appear in court.
“Because of this I said that, since the system is the responsibility of all, it is not just one actor of the system.”
“Closing the case is not a drawer, nor is it sinful”
District Attorney Yeni Berenice Reynoso asks that the figure of “archiving” or closing a case not be demonized, but rather the basis on which this step is order should be taken into account. She is the protagonist in at least two well known cases of case closures, both in cases involving corruption.
First she ordered that closing of the case against Leonel Fernandez and then after the challenge that she issued to Judge Margarita Cristo, who was hearing the case against Victor Diaz Rua, she was charged by the judge with contempt, but the judge that heard the case decided to archive it, or close it.
“At times we see the closure of a case as a drawer, and not as a judicial figure which the legislator created,” the DA commented. She mentioned several of the causes that could lead to a closing of a case, “whether it is the incident not constituting a penal crime, or has passed the statute of limitations, or that there are not sufficient evidence….”
“What I think is that the issue of the archiving or closure of a case cannot be looked at as something sinful, what you have to see are the bases of the closure, and if it corresponds with the judicial criteria that the legislator has established,” she added.
In the case against the magistrate Cristo, she said that she let it run its course and that nobody can say that she called a judge or a member of the Justice Department in order to say something about the process.
“What happens with this process will be what Justice decides, but what Yeni Berenice cannot do is lose focus because the District Attorney of the National District implies a lot of work,” she says. And in case anyone doubted that, she indicated that each month they process at least 350 cases, just on coercive measures.
Category: DR News |