In February, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) trained journalists on Panama’s ongoing implementation of an orality-based, adversarial legal system. The day-long workshop, held in Panama City, provided 31 journalists with the necessary knowledge to report accurately on the country’s transition to this system and with an improved understanding of their role—and of the roles of various justice sector actors—under the system.
Sessions featured overviews of the accusatorial system, of trial litigation techniques and of the rights of victims and defendants during a criminal case. The seminar concluded with a panel discussion on media relations and the justice sector. Speakers included Panamanian Attorney General Jose Eduardo Ayú Prado, Panamanian Bar Association President Ruben Elias Rodriguez and Panamanian Journalists Association President Grisel Bethancourt. Closing remarks were provided by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols, who was visiting the country as part of a regional tour.
ABA ROLI’s Panama program assists local institutions, including civil society organizations, in protecting human rights and guaranteeing due process under the country’s new oral, adversarial criminal justice system. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and has been supporting reform efforts in Panama since 2009.
To learn more about our work in Panama, contact [email protected].