In a report given to newspaper El Espectador, Colombia’s former deputy prosecutor general says the country’s judicial system is in a state of crisis.
Ex-Deputy Prosecutor General Francisco Jose Sintura gave a 50-page report to the newspaper outlining the inefficiencies of Colombia’s Oral Accusatory Penal System (SPOA).
In 2005 Colombia implemented the SPOA, which is a court system modeled after the American system and is aimed at providing a more transparent and efficient legal process.
According to Sintura, the probability of a crime being punished in Colombia under this system is about 30% and the courts are inundated with cases waiting to be tried.
The former official said that each judicial officer in the current system has an average of 300 cases yet to be settled. This backlog is caused by inefficiencies in the new SPOA, he said, compounded with the burden of cases that were left unresolved from the previous penal system.
According to the report, between 2005 and 2009 there were over 3 million cases in the judicial system and only 23% of the cases (705,146) were settled during that time period.
Sintura said that the current problems with the SPOA were cause by a hasty implementation of the new process and a lack of sufficient training for lawyers and judges. He says that the solution lies in better management and more investment in the judicial police.