ABA ROLI Helps Guatemalan Public Ministry Modernize Case-Processing Practices

September 2011

As the country suffers from extremely high levels of organized crime, Guatemala’s Public Ministry is constantly seeking to modernize and improve its internalprocesses for greater efficiency in crime prosecution. To help build prosecutorial capacity, ABA ROLI—along with its subcontractor, NEOTEC—is assessing the ministry’s case-processing practices. The analysis will identifyopportunities to streamline case flow by expediting or eliminating superfluous steps, with a particular emphasis on the processing of high-priority criminalcases.

During a July 8 workshop, the ministry’s money- and asset-laundering sectiondeveloped a strategic approach toward pending cases, presenting some recommendations—including the assignment of additional personnel to the casesand the use of a task force—that were approved by Rolando Rodenas, head of thesection.

During the second workshop on July 27, NEOTEC experts worked with Dr.Alejandro Rodríguez, secretary for criminal policy at the Guatemalan PublicMinistry, and several counter-narcotics prosecutors to review a draftimprovement manual. The experts also revealed the findings of a case study thatassessed the operations of the Public Ministry’s narcotics unit. The findingsshowed that the ministry took many improvement initiatives agreed upon duringprior trainings. Following discussions, participants agreed to finalize anddistribute the manual to the wider prosecution community.

ABA ROLI held a third seminar on July 30, targeting the Public Corruption Section of the Public Ministry. After reviewing the case study developed forthe corruption section, NEOTEC experts presented a number of improvementrecommendations, including the development of a guideline for accepting cases and adhering to case-processing timeframe set by law.

ABA ROLI’s work in support of efforts to improve case processing and to curbnarcotics, money laundering and public corruption promises to help increase prosecution, optimize the use of resources and send a strong message against impunity in Guatemala.

To learn more about our work in Guatemala, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.

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