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January 07, 2019

Prosecutorial Reform Index: Factors

I:Qualifications, Selection, and Training

Factor 1. Legal Education

Prosecutors have the appropriate legal education and training necessary to discharge the functions of their office, and should be made aware of the ideals and ethical duties of their office, of the protections for the rights of the suspect and the victim, and of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by international law.

Factor 2. Continuing Legal Education

In order to maintain and improve the highest standards of professionalism and legal expertise, prosecutors undergo continuing legal education (CLE) training. States sponsor sufficient and appropriate CLE training, which is professionally prepared on specific issues and is relevant to the prosecutors' responsibilities, taking into account new developments in the law and society.

Factor 3. Selection: recruitment, Promotion, and Transfer of Prosecutors

Prosecutors are recruited, promoted, and transferred through a fair and impartial procedure based on objective and transparent criteria, such as their professional qualification, abilities, performance, experience, and integrity.

While political elements may be involved, the overall system should foster the selection of qualified individuals with integrity and high professional qualifications.

Factor 4. Selection Without Discrimination

The recruitment, promotion, and transfer of prosecutors at every level of hierarchy shall not be unfairly influenced or denied for reasons of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, political or other opinion, national, social or ethnic origin, physical disabilities, or economic status, except that it shall not be considered discriminatory to require a candidate for prosecutorial office to be a citizen of the country concerned.

II: Professional Freedoms and Guarantees

Factor 5. Freedom of Expression

Prosecutors, like other citizens, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association, and assembly. In exercising these rights, prosecutors should always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of their profession.

Factor 6. Freedom of Professional Association

Public prosecutors have an effective right to freedom of professional association and assembly.

They are free to join or form local, national, or international organizations to represent their interests, to promote their professional training and to protect their status, without suffering professional disadvantage by reason of their participation or membership in an organization.

Factor 7.

Prosecutors are able to perform their professional functions without improper interference from prosecutorial and non-prosecutorial authorities.

Factor 8. Protection from Harassment and Intimidation

Prosecutors are able to perform their professional functions in a secure environment and are entitled, together with their families, to be protected by the State.

Factor 9. Professional Immunity

Prosecutors have immunity for actions taken in good faith in their official capacity.

III:Prosecutorial Functions

Factor 10. Discretionary Functions

Prosecutorial discretion, when permitted in a particular jurisdiction, is exercised ethically, independently, and free from political interference, and the criteria for such decisions are made available to the public. The prosecutor's power to waive or to discontinue proceedings for discretionary reasons is founded in law, and, if applied, sufficiently justified in writing and placed in the prosecutor's file.

Factor 11. Rights of the Accused

Prosecutors shall be impartial in the performance of their functions and must promote equality before the law and respect for the rights of the accused.

Prosecutors shall refuse to use evidence obtained in violation of the accused's human rights.

Factor 12. Victim Rights and Protection

In the performance of their duties, prosecutors consider the views and concerns of victims, with due regard for the dignity, privacy, and security of the victims and their families.

Prosecutors must ensure that victims are given information regarding the legal proceedings and their rights, and are informed of major developments in the proceedings.

Factor 13. Witness Rights and Protection

Prosecutors perform their functions with due regard for the dignity, privacy, and security of the witnesses and their families.

Prosecutors ensure that witnesses are informed of their rights and conduct every encounter with witnesses fairly and objectively.

Factor 14. Public Integrity

Prosecutors uphold public integrity by giving due attention to the prosecution of crimes committed by public officials, particularly those involving corruption, abuse of power, grave violations of human rights, and other crimes recognized by international law.

IV.Accountability and Transparency

Factor 15. Public Accountability

In performing their professional duties and responsibilities, prosecutors periodically and publicly account for their activities as a whole.

Factor 16. Internal Accountability

Prosecutors' offices have a mechanism to receive and investigate allegations of wrong doing or improprieties based on written procedures and guidelines. Internal procedures and mechanisms exist to assess or monitor compliance with departmental guidelines.

Factor 17. Conflicts of Interest

Prosecutors are unaffected by individual interests, and avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.

Factor 18. Codes of Ethics

Prosecutors are bound by ethical standards of the profession, clearly aimed at delimiting what is and is not acceptable in their professional behavior.

Factor 19. Disciplinary Proceedings

Prosecutors are subject to disciplinary action for violations of law, regulations, or ethical standards. Disciplinary proceedings are processed expeditiously and fairly, and the decision is subject to independent and impartial review.

V.Interaction with Criminal Justice Actors

Factor 20. Interaction with Judges

Public prosecutors safeguard the independence of the judicial and prosecutorial functions. Prosecutors treat judges with candor and respect for their office, and cooperate with them in the fair and timely administration of justice.

Factor 21. Interaction with the Police and Other Investigatory Agencies

In order to ensure the fairness and effectiveness of prosecutions, prosecutors cooperate with the police and other investigatory agencies in conducting the criminal investigation and preparing cases for trial, and monitor the observance of human rights by investigators.

Factor 22. Interaction with Representatives of the Accused

Public prosecutors respect the independence of the defense function. In order to ensure the fairness and effectiveness of prosecutions, prosecutors satisfy their legal and ethical obligations towards the representative of the defendant.

Factor 23. Interaction with the Public/Media

In their contacts with the media, and other elements of civil society, prosecutors provide appropriate and accurate information wherever possible, within their discretion.

Factor 24. International Cooperation

In accordance with the law and in a spirit of cooperation, prosecutors provide international assistance to the prosecutorial services of other jurisdictions.

VI.Finances and Resources

Factor 25. Budgetary Input

States provide an adequate budget for the prosecutor's office, which is established with input from representatives of the prosecutor's office.

Factor 26. Resources and Infrastructure

States provide adequate funding, conditions, and resources to guarantee the proper functioning of the prosecutor's office.

Factor 27. Efficiency

Prosecutors perform their functions expeditiously, in order to achieve the best possible use of available resources. Prosecutors' offices have a written organizational plan to facilitate such efficiency. The prosecutor's office has written guidelines, principles, and criteria for the implementation of criminal justice.

Factor 28. Compensation and Benefits

Prosecutors have reasonable compensation and benefits established by law, such as remuneration and pension, proportionate with their role in the administration of justice.