The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting the launch of the Colombian government’s Access to Justice program with an investment of nearly $14 million.
The two-year program, launched Tuesday, aims to promote access to justice in Colombia, decrease the rate of impunity for criminals, and to restore public faith in the justice system, reports Radio Santa Fe.
Twenty municipalities targeted by Colombia’s National Consolidation Plan will receive funds to strengthen their justice systems. In these areas the program will build ten new courthouses, eight courtrooms, and three victims centers, as well as setting up eight virtual courtrooms.
The program will also pay for the training of lawyers, judges, prosecutors and investigators.
Access to Justice aims to promote access to legal services for the Colombia’s marginalized populations, like Afro-Colombians, indigenous, women, youth, disabled, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender), and other minority groups.
The U.S. State Department’s 2009 Human Rights Report, released March 2010, expressed concern over the state of Colombia’s judicial system, which it said was “subject to intimation,” and often allowed criminals to enjoy impunity.
President Juan Manuel Santos in July proposed a series of reforms “provide Colombians with fast and effective justice.”