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Guatemala City, June 6, 2017

Criminal justice system stakeholders from Honduras, Argentina, Panama, Guatemala and Peru participated in the first on site phase of the Central American Certificate Program on Criminal Procedure Reform, which JSCA organized in collaboration with Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC), the Institute for Comparative Studies in the Criminal Sciences of Guatemala (ICCGP) and Universidad de Costa Rica. Like the previous version, the program will be hosted by two entities in two different countries. The first on site phase was held June 5-9 in Guatemala City. The second will take place November 27-December 1 in San José, Costa Rica.

The inauguration of this third version featured the participation of USAC Dean of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences Gustavo Bonilla, JSCA Academic Coordinator Leonel González and ICCGP President Elvyn Díaz.

The goal of this training program –which reviews the specificities of criminal justice reform processes in Central America- is to transmit knowledge and skills that can be used to solve problems in the implementation and operation of criminal justice reforms. It consists of two on site phases and a distance learning phase offered through JSCA’s virtual campus, Cejacampus.

The first week of the program, which was completed by 40 students, included a review of criminal justice reform in Latin America from the perspective of the meaning and scope of the use of oral procedures; the strategic role of the prosecutor’s office in an adversarial system; the structure of a hearings-based system; court management and its importance for oral procedures; the defense in the context of reform; management and work processes; public and mixed service provision systems; and challenges faced by the defense in Latin America. In the context of these topics, the focus is placed on the management model and organization of the Institute of Criminal Public Defense of Guatemala.

The instructors of this first phase were JSCA’s Leonel González, ICCGP’s Elvyn Díaz, César Román Tello Solano of Panama, Carlos Núñez of Costa Rica and Alden Cristina Alonzo Gómez, Silvia Ruiz, Alejandro Rodríguez, Nydia de Corzantes and Juan José Hernández of Guatemala.

The first phase also includes information on case theory and litigation at the pretrial stage. Attendees also reviewed trends in Latin America regarding the rules of evidence, oversight of protective measures, pre- and post-trial services and the use of oral procedures and appeals in an adversarial system. The training is complemented by practical exercises such as mock hearings and visits to Guatemala’s public prosecutor’s office and judicial branch.

The first part of the certificate program ended with a roundtable discussion on current tensions in reformed criminal procedures in Central America, addressing criminal sentence execution, criminal justice for adolescents, and criminal justice for members of indigenous communities. Participants included Zoel Franco, Carol Berganza, Gabriela Mundo and Wendy Maldonado of Guatemala, Leonel González, Elvin Díaz and JSCA researcher Juan José Martínez.









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