December 17, 2012

ABA ROLI Launches a Program in Peru, Director Visits Country

December 2012

In August 2012, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) launched a program to support Peru’s transition from an inquisitorial to an accusatorial judicial system, opening an office in the capital, Lima. Over the next year, ABA ROLI will conduct activities to support implementation of Peru’s new criminal procedure code in Lima and in three provincial jurisdictions.

In late September, ABA ROLI conducted a series of trial-skills workshops, providing legal professionals with the necessary tools to successfully operate under the new accusatorial system.

The accusatorial judicial system, which features live, in-court testimony, was adopted in 2004, and so far, 21 of the country’s 31 districts have implemented it. To support its introduction in the remaining districts, ABA ROLI, with the U.S. Department of State’s support, is working with local partners to strengthen the capacity of justice sector operators.

In late September, ABA ROLI conducted a series of trial-skills workshops, providing legal professionals with the necessary tools to successfully operate under the new system. A total of 44 legal professionals attended the Lima workshops.

Delia Espinoza, a prosecutor from Lima, who participated in one of the oral trial-skills workshops, said that while she had been introduced to the theoretical aspects of the new system before, she hadn’t had opportunities to build oral-litigation skills. In addition to giving participants such an opportunity, the ABA ROLI trainings brought together judges, prosecutors, police and defense attorneys, emphasizing the interaction and cooperation between the different justice sector operators.

For Espinoza, this approach broke many paradigms. She said, “It is the first time that we participated in a workshop that brings together different operators and allows us to see each other as equals and with the same need to learn.” She added that the oral-litigation techniques she learned will considerably improve her court performance both now and under the new criminal procedure code.

A mock trial at the end of the training allowed participants to practice their newly gained skills and to receive feedback from their trainers and peers. Espinoza said the trainers “were very straightforward and energetic in their presentations.”

As part of the program startup activities, between October 20 and 27, ABA ROLI Director Rob Boone visited Peru and met with counterparts, conveying ABA ROLI’s commitment to the country’s reform process. Boone met with Peru’s attorney general and with representatives of the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police.

Boone—along with Chantal Agarwal, program manager with ABA ROLI’s Latin America and Caribbean Division, and Raul Callirgos, ABA ROLI’s country director in Peru—also met with members of the Narcotics Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Peru to discuss further cooperation in supporting Peru’s ongoing judicial reform. In addition, on October 22, U.S. Ambassador to Peru Rose M. Likins hosted a luncheon at her residence, where representatives of the Peruvian judiciary, including the ministers of the interior, and justice and human rights, the president of the judiciary and the attorney general, listened to a presentation on ABA ROLI’s program in Peru.

Boone also held individual consultations with the heads of several local ABA ROLI partners, and got their inputs on how ABA ROLI can strengthen its partnerships with the institutions and on how it can leverage their resources. Boone expressed ABA ROLI’s commitment to supporting institutions involved with the judicial reform process and its interest in strengthening collaboration among various Peruvian justice institutions.

Continuing its efforts, ABA ROLI will host a slate of trial advocacy workshops, organize an international study tour for justice sector operators and conduct an awareness-building campaign.

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