Panama: overview of corruption risks in the judiciary and prosecution service

Abstract

Query

What are the corruption risks in the Panamanian judiciary and prosecution service? Which legislative and institutional safeguards are in place, which gaps exist? Have there been efforts to strengthen integrity recently? What is the public perception regarding the integrity of the judiciary? Are there well known cases/examples?

Summary

The legal system in Panama faces serious challenges to its integrity. There is political interference in appointing judges, particularly to the Supreme Court. There is no independent body to investigate corrupt acts of public officials. It is problematic that by law only Supreme Court judges can investigate corrupt acts of National Assembly members and vice versa. Anti-Corruption Prosecution Offices are underfunded and understaffed. Some state institutions do not cooperate with prosecutors in corruption cases involving illicit enrichment of public officials.

Citation

Jennett, V. Panama: overview of corruption risks in the judiciary and prosecution service. U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, CMI, Bergen, Norway (2014) 8 pp. [U4 Expert Answers 2014: 03]

Panama: overview of corruption risks in the judiciary and prosecution service

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