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Nicaragua Programs

Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) upcoming Juvenile Justice Program will support the Nicaraguan justice sector in developing a strategic plan for juvenile justice procedure, post-prison rehabilitation and reintegration.

The program will focus on combating recidivism, especially among juveniles accused of minor crimes that overwhelm the justice system and distract from major offenses. It aims to tackle juvenile delinquency by preventing offences, resocializing and reintegrating offenders, and by helping victims.

Legal Profession Reform

In June 2006, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) began promoting legal profession reforms in Nicaragua to bring the country’s commercial law sector into compliance with the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). Under the U.S. Agency for International Development-supported program, which ended in September 2007, ABA ROLI worked with Nicaraguan business attorneys, legislators and government officials in three areas:

1) Competition law reform

ABA ROLI supported Nicaraguan legislators to draft a revised competition law that is compliant with the DR-CAFTA. Leading competition lawyers from the U.S. and Mexico reviewed the country’s competition law and suggested changes. The resulting comprehensive draft was subsequently passed into law.

2) Strengthening mediation

As part of the effort to encourage legal changes that support the DR-CAFTA, ABA ROLI worked with Nicaraguan businesses to enhance commercial mediation. The program provided training in DR-CAFTA’s dispute resolution provisions and basic training in commercial mediation. The trainings focused on commercial mediation to promote speedy and less controversial resolutions to commercial disputes. ABA ROLI also formed an advisory committee of in-country experts and held week-long trainings for 50 mediation center operators to improve their handling of commercial cases and to help them follow standardized hiring and center-operating procedures.

3) Strengthening arbitration

ABA ROLI brought select Nicaraguan arbitration experts to the U.S. for trainings in international arbitration law and procedure. The trainings also addressed arbitration-related advocacy skills. The trainings were meant to enhance the capacity of Nicaraguan government and businesses to participate in international arbitration proceedings.