Increasing support for the accusatorial system
Peru’s criminal justice system is transitioning from an inquisitorial system to an adversarial accusatory system. In response to the Peruvian government’s request to support this transition, ABA ROLI is implementing the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP-2). High-profile corruption scandals have resulted in the disruption of governance and anticorruption efforts in Peru. Exacerbating its political and institutional crises, Peru has yet to implement its new Criminal Procedure Code wholly and consistently, while transnational criminal organizations that operate in Peru continue to evolve and adapt. Funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), JSSP-2 aims to build on the success of its five-year INL-funded Justice Sector Support Project, which was implemented from 2016 to 2021. This new one-year project began in February 2022. It targets several regions and all 34 judicial districts of Peru. The program’s objectives are to support Peruvian authorities’ efforts to consolidate and build on judicial reforms; improve Peru’s capacity to combat complex crimes; prevent and detect corruption in justice sector institutions; and support the strengthening of equitable and fair access to justice, especially for vulnerable populations and indigenous communities.
In support of one of the program’s objectives—consolidating and building on Peru’s judicial reforms—the JSSP-2 program hosted a in October 2022 with public and private law schools from across Peru, with a focus on oral litigation skills. This is the first time the local and international competitions have been combined. The full competition ran from June 2022 to October 2022 with 199 teams from all over Peru participating. More than 600 participants from all over the country took part in the course. The program conducted two, two-day workshops on oral litigation techniques in each of Peru’s macro-regions to prepare the student competitors. The following video (in Spanish) shares the experience of the students who participated in oral litigation competition in 2022.
In addition, JSSP-2 program staff coordinated with Peru’s judicial branch to implement a two-day international conference in Lima to address current debates on the elimination of violence against women. Experts from across Latin America and the U.S. participated and presented at the conference, which included topics such as experiences in Central America, jurisprudence on the right to live freely from violence, judicial independence, gender-based violence, violence in social media, violence inflicted in the OBGYN setting, and violence inflicted upon the trans community. The conference was a huge success, with the President of the Judiciary (Dr. Elvia Barrios Alvarado) and its leadership in attendance. The program supplemented the conference with materials they produced to help people identify different kinds of violence against women, what resources are available, and how to report and present a case a violence. Importantly, these materials have been translated into Spanish and native languages to reach all vulnerable communities, and included women from indigenous communities, activists, LGBTQIA+, and local judicial operators.
The JSSP-2 program launched workshops on environmental law and crimes for prosecutors and police in Piura and Arequipa, Peru. The efforts supplemented an already-provided virtual course on environmental law for non-specialized units of the justice sector. The in-person workshops addressed the need to strengthen regulatory, institutional, and law enforcement capacity, as well as improve forest governance. To provide participants with hands-on experience, workshops included simulated environmental crimes scenes that allowed attendees to learn how to investigate and collect evidence of crimes against the environment. The JSSP-2 program also conducted two study tours to the U.S. in 2022. The first invited the Supreme Court of Peru to visit D.C., and the second was the National Board of Justice. The Justices from Peru met with Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court while visiting. They also met with USAID, INL, and local judges. Though JSSP-2 is only a one-year project that will conclude in 2023, it has undoubtedly built on the success of ABA ROLI’s past work in the country.