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70 more court rooms as new system kicks in

Posted on September 1, 2016 in Panama

THE CRIMINAL accusatory system is  set to be implemented  on Friday September in Panama’s  First Judicial District.

The various agencies being impacted by the change are reported  to be  “more or less” ready  although some are struggling with financial shortfalls.

Agencies  involved include the judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office, the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences and the police.

At a meeting on  Wednesday, officials from the agencies noted that funds to deal with the new system have been scarce.

The  money is needed for the hiring of new staff and for training and equipment.

Extra work
Superior Court of Appeals Judge Mauricio Marín said that 931 people have been hired to handle the extra work that is expected to be generated by the change.

It has also created 70 new courtrooms to hold hearings needed by the new system.

Attorney General representative Rolando Rodríguez said that the agency’s budget request for the new system was only partially funded (it received $10 million instead of the $15 million it requested), but the agency is ready for the change.

“I think we’re ready. There will be some things done on the fly, and there are some budgetary shortcomings, but we will see if we need more,” he said.

The office has hired 351 additional staff.

More police
Police official Luis Vega said that 900 new officers will be on duty on Friday  and 500 more will be hired in the coming weeks.

He said training programs for the new system are “99.9 percent complete.”

Legal Medicine Institute Director Humberto Mas said his agency is scrambling as it was only granted $35 million of the $76 million it requested for the change.

The agency is expected to experience the greatest impact due to the change.


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