The American Bar Association Rule of Law (ABA ROLI) launched, its combative front against transnational crimes such as drug and human trafficking, and money laundering in Belize .
With an overall aim of contributing to the proper execution of justice in Belize, the Country Director for ABA ROLI, Antoinette Moore, explained that the initiative comes with three primary strategies that include amendments to policies that relate to juveniles in the system, training for law enforcers and implementation of a computerized case-tracking system.
Marcel Guzman de Rojas is making the case tracking system work and explained how it relates to the proper functioning of the justice system.
“The program will be recording the different information that conforms with the case files; starting from the first complaint, police report and investigation report,” Rojas said,
Rojas said the program will include data such as the prosecutor’s instructions to the police, and the result of everything from the initial court hearings to the conviction.
The overarching intent of the program is twofold. It seeks to develop and provide law enforcers with an electronic case filing system that will enable them to monitor—in real time—how cases are developing. It also seeks to establish a national priors record for repeat offenders.
All elements found within the program are geared towards overcoming and bridging any interdepartmental communication gaps within the local justice system.
While the tripartite strategy makes its local debut, Michael McCullough, ABA ROLI’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, spoke of their continued efforts on the global front. “Our overall objective is to support other countries around the world in their legal reform efforts to help them promote the rule of law.” he said.
As it relates specifically to their input in Belize’s strides towards fortifying legal procedures, McCullough said, “We are working with our counterparts and the host government [G.O.B] to help them in their own efforts to combat transnational crime.”
He explained that ABA ROLI will be working with the various justice sector institutions such as the Attorney General’s office, the Police Department and the judiciary. The goal is to help them further their own institutional-strengthening initiatives against “gangs, criminal syndicates, drug cartels and the like.”
McCullough added said that ABA ROLI’s assistance to Belize comes because transnational crime has been on a steady rise throughout the world—Belize of course being no exception. He attributed the increase in such crimes to globalization. “As trade and people flow across borders more easily, crime can also flow across the borders more easily,” he said.