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Coronavirus Delays Reopening of Corruption Court Cases

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Justice on hold: coronavirus delays courts re-opening


Posted 15/05/2020

Dozens  of high profile defendants, facing trial  in  corruption cases will have to wait  longer for their day in court as the Judicial Branch marches in step with the coronavirus.

. The plenary of the Supreme Court  decided  on Thursday, May 14  that  through agreement No. 168 of May 14, 2020, decided to maintain the suspension of judicial terms until June 7 it  will not resume work on Monday, May 18, as planned

The magistrates based their decision on the "the health risk conditions" that the pandemic implies and asked the authorities of the Ministry of Health, for recommendations.

 The court said:  "The magistrates, judges, and judicial offices were asked to continue with the reorganization of the courts while the work is suspended and to carry out an office work aimed at minimizing the judicial delay The magistrates also decided that from June 1 to 5 the Judicial Branch will attend to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm During that period, the citizenry will be able to consult files and present briefs and new demands.

The news was not well received within the National Bar Association, reports La Prensa.Its president, Juan Carlos Araúz, warned that the Judicial Branch has had enough time to establish biosecurity measures.

Litigation lawyer Rosendo Rivera said it is necessary for the judicial authorities to guarantee the safety of the lawyers and the people who go to the courts and tribunals.

In addition to the annoyance over the extension of the suspension of the judicial terms, there is also the concern of local jurists, given that the schedule to return to the so-called "new normality" puts "professional services" in the third block without a date to resume activities.

Aldo Ayala, a litigation lawyer, said that the situation of the lawyers that do not belong to the big firms or work in the Public Ministry and the Judicial Branch, "is critical" due to the collateral effects of the pandemic. He said  that many criminal lawyers have run out of money,

The judicial terms have been suspended since March 16, three days after the national emergency was declared by Covid-19. To date, six judicial officials have acquired the virus.

With the suspension of court terms, dozens of high-profile cases linked to acts of corruption are frozen.



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