• 12 September 2019

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    “Los delitos medioambientales se han convertido en el tercer delito más lucrativo del mundo”

    Con motivo del Día Internacional de la Preservación de la Capa de Ozono, que se celebrará el 16 de septiembre, Marc Reina, gestor temático del componente de cooperación policial de EL PAcCTO, reflexiona sobre la necesidad de un marco estratégico y operacional de trabajo integral y coordinado entre países contra los delitos medioambientales

    Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

    Representando un volumen de negocio ilegal de entre 110 y 281 millones de dólares en 2018, según las estimaciones de Interpol y el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (UNEP, por sus siglas en inglés), los delitos medioambientales se han convertido en el tercer delito más lucrativo del mundo, únicamente sobrepasado por el narcotráfico y el contrabando. 

     

    Estas cifras han aumentado exponencialmente en los últimos años, con un crecimiento de hasta varios dígitos amparado por un marco regulatorio insuficiente y una tipificación y sanción de los delitos que, en muchos casos, es administrativa en vez de penal. Además, la focalización de recursos de investigación policial y judicial en otros ámbitos como el tráfico de drogas y/o de personas, así como la consideración de los delitos ambientales como de bajo riesgo en comparación con otras tipologías delictuales, han facilitado el surgimiento de organizaciones criminales especializadas en minería ilegal, deforestación y tráfico de especies protegidas, entre otros, y sus delitos conexos como la corrupción, el lavado de activos, el sicariato y la explotación laboral y sexual. 

     

    Si tenemos en cuenta que América Latina representa más del 40% de la biodiversidad mundial y que la complejidad geográfica y política de la región hace difícil el control efectivo de territorio por parte de los Estados, la lucha contra los delitos ambientales en su conjunto es una tarea titánica. 

     

    Por eso es necesario el desarrollo de acciones estratégicas y operacionales en varios niveles. Por un lado, el desarrollo estratégico debe obligatoriamente pasar por la creación de un marco regulatorio internacional, ya sea mediante protocolos adjuntos a grandes convenciones como la Convención contra la Delincuencia Transnacional Organizada (Convención de Palermo) o la Convención sobre el comercio internacional de especies amenazadas de fauna y flora silvestres (Convenio CITES), o a través de la elaboración de un nuevo tratado internacional que sirva de paraguas de protección y persecución de los crímenes contra el medio ambiente. 

     

    Por otro lado, a nivel operacional y siguiendo las conclusiones y los compromisos de los Jefes de Estado y los ministros del Interior de las 7 mayores potencias económicas del mundo, reunidos en el G7 los días 4 y 5 de abril de 2019 en Francia, es necesario crear mecanismos eficientes de coordinación y cooperación policial y judicial, tanto nacionales como regionales, así como el desarrollo de Task Forces multidisciplinares especializadas en la materia y Equipos Conjuntos de Investigación (JIT, por sus siglas en inglés). En este aspecto, la Unión Europea tiene una ventaja comparativa importante respecto a otras regiones ya que ha fomentado el desarrollo de instituciones cuyos principales propósitos son la coordinación, el intercambio de información y el trabajo interinstitucional e interpaís. Ejemplos de ello son Europol y Eurojust. 

     

    Pactos de Estado contra los delitos ambientales 

     

    Sin embargo, bajo mi punto de vista, la acción más eficiente, pero quizás más compleja, es la búsqueda de alianzas y pactos de Estado estratégicos para el desarrollo de políticas públicas integrales tanto de prevención como de tratamiento penal de los delitos ambientales, incluyendo aspectos importantes de lucha contra la pobreza, la perspectiva de género, el fomento del emprendimiento, la cultura y la educación. 

     

    Los pactos de Estado, junto a sus políticas públicas, deben tener un consenso mayoritario de la población y deben estar regidos por cinco principios básicos: voluntad de financiación y presupuesto concreto; control y fiscalización; transparencia; buena ejecución; y, responsabilidad ante la ciudadanía. 

     

    En este sentido, América Latina tiene la oportunidad, la experiencia y el deber de asumir el liderazgo internacional en el desarrollo de políticas públicas integrales que puedan luchar más eficazmente contra los delitos ambientales, fomentando la transición a una economía verde y responsable, así como con un crecimiento económico sostenible que pueda generar negocios y que permita impulsar el desarrollo de aquellas comunidades dependientes directamente de ciertos ecosistemas particulares para subsistir. 

     

    Este es el caso de una parte importante de los aproximadamente 60 millones de personas que se consideran indígenas en la región latinoamericana. Una gran parte de ellos se encuentran localizados en la cuenca del Amazonas, la cual ha perdido el 20% de su biodiversidad en los últimos 50 años según el World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, 2018), por motivos vinculados a sobreexplotación y crimen organizado. 

     

    Por su forma de vida y por su número, estas comunidades son clave no sólo para cambiar el desarrollo económico y humano de muchos países, sino también para desarrollar nuevas aproximaciones en el desarrollo económico sostenible, la lucha contra los delitos ambientales y el cambio climático, teniendo en cuenta la colaboración entre la sociedad civil, las empresas privadas con responsabilidad social corporativa y el Estado. 

     

    Desarrollo económico vs protección de los recursos naturales 

     

    Llegados a este punto, es necesario poner de relieve la dicotomía entre, por un lado, el desarrollo económico desmesurado y a toda costa; y, por otro, la protección de los recursos naturales. De hecho, es importante destacar que, en parte, el aumento de la extracción ilícita de materias primas y la deforestación para la creación de grandes zonas de pasto de animales y plantaciones, ha sido provocados por un incremento del consumo humano desenfrenado. 

     

    Hay que admitir que si existen grupos criminales organizados detrás de estos delitos es porque hay una demanda concreta al respecto. Voluntaria o involuntariamente. Con conocimiento o sin conocimiento de la existencia de violencia y delitos conexos por parte del demandante. 

     

    Es evidente que todos los países y sociedades del mundo tienen el derecho, pero no la obligación, de desarrollarse económicamente, así como cultural e intelectualmente. Sin embargo, con el más que evidente cambio climático, tenemos que plantearnos la necesidad de cambiar el modelo de crecimiento económico indefinido y salvaje, el cual fomenta el surgimiento de una multitud de delitos que acaban contribuyendo al cambio climático y al aumento de la violencia en los países. 

    En consecuencia, es necesario balancear el consumo humano desenfrenado con la protección del medioambiente. 

     

    EL PAcCTO es un proyecto financiado por la Unión Europea y gestionado por FIIAPP y Expertise France, con el apoyo del IILA y del Instituto Camões para fortalecer la lucha contra el crimen organizado en Latinoamérica.

     

     Marc Reina, gestor temático del componente de cooperación policial de EL PAcCTO 

     

     

     

  • 29 August 2019

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    EUROsociAL+ and the case of Lorenza Cayuhan

    The project addresses access to justice for people in vulnerable situations. This documentary video presents a paradigmatic case: that of the Mapuche woman Lorenza Cayuhan

    Access to justice is a hallmark of the EUROsociAL+ programme, which is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, and is one of the dimensions through which the fight against exclusion and inequality is being organised.

     

    Despite the notable advances in this area in the Latin American region, there is still a need to improve and guarantee access to justice for certain at-risk groups in order to strengthen social cohesion. Within that framework, the Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for people in a vulnerable situation, which was approved by the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, are a key instrument for guaranteeing access to justice and contributing to social cohesion in the region. Since the beginning of EUROsociAL in 2005, the programme has supported the countries in the region as well as regional networks, not only in initially defining the Brasilia Rules in 2008, but also in revising and updating them in 2018 and in their dissemination and implementation at the national level in Latin American countries.

     

    The case of Lorenza Cayuhan, which is presented in the video, is paradigmatic in this regard because it shows multiple discriminations (intersectionality of discrimination) for being a woman, Mapuche, pregnant and deprived of freedom, as was ultimately recognised by a ruling of the Chilean Supreme Court of Justice.

    EUROsociAL+ Democratic Governance Policy Area

  • 04 July 2019

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Towards more open and transparent justice in Colombia

    The Open Justice Strategy of the State Council of Colombia, supported by the ACTUE Colombia project, has received a stellar reform award.

    Early last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the 6th Global Summit of the Open Government Partnership in Canada , a gathering that brought together two thousand people from 79 countries and 20 local governments who, along with civil society organizations, academics and other stakeholders, make up the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This year, the Summit revolved around three strategic priorities: participation, inclusion and impact.

     

    During the inauguration, and to my surprise, the initiative that we supported in the ACTUE project – a project managed by FIIAPP with EU funding between 2014 and 2018 – was displayed on giant screens: the Open Justice Strategy in the State Council of Colombia as one of the “ Stellar Reforms” selected in the last OGP cycle. It was very exciting to be able to experience that tangible impact of one of our projects, something that we rarely get to experience. I was even more thrilled than when I saw the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau live, which is really saying something. And for good reason, too. These 12 commitments have been selected by the Independent Review Mechanism from among hundreds of others for showing evidence of preliminary results that mean significant advances in relevant and transformative political areas .

     

    The Open Justice Strategy in the Council of State of Colombia  has, for the first time, allowed the Court to begin publishing its previous agendas and decisions, as well as information on possible conflicts of interest of judges and administrative staff; essential aspects of public accountability, as well as enabling citizens and civil society to do their work of social control. In the long term, these changes can reduce corruption in justice institutions and allow them to regain the trust of citizens . Justicia Abierta is one of the political tendencies in open government that is gaining greater traction, given the major impact that its actions can have on citizens; In particular, access to justice makes it possible to exercise other rights. In addition, this sectoral action contributes directly to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda through goal 16, Peace, Security and Solid Institutions.

     

    The ACTUE Colombia project was supporting the Transparency Secretariat of Colombia in the preparation of its OGP action plans, as well as civil society organizations, by using specialized technical assistance to promote the creation of a space for dialogue between administrations and civil society to define their own priorities in open government .

     

    This is a good example of the positive impact that delegated cooperation can have, thanks to the flexibility and innovation they bring to our partners and the technical assistance on demand that we carry out.

     

    About the ACTUE-Colombia project

     

    The Anti corruption and Transparency Project of the European Union for Colombia (ACTUE-Colombia) has supported Colombian institutions in the implementation of key measures for a Open Territorial Government with the aim of making progress in the prevention of and fight against corruption both at the national and territorial levels. To this end, the project supported the creation of conditions for the fulfilment of international commitments, the strengthening of social control, the promotion of the co- responsibility of the private sector, and the generation of cultural and institutional changes .

     

    The project is financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP in coordination with the Secretary for Transparency (ST) and Public Function (FP). It has assisted three regional governments, six city councils and two hospitals in areas such as applying the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information, drafting Anti-Corruption and Citizen Information Plans (PAAC), fostering accountability and promoting public participation. It has thus helped officials to understand that the right to transparency and access to information is an essential right on which other rights depend. It has increased their awareness by institutionalizing advances in active transparency and their knowledge of how to identify and manage the risks of corruption.

     

    Carolina Díaz, legal technician in the area of Justice and Security at FIIAPP and, between 2014 and 2018, member of the ACTUE Colombia team

  • 14 March 2019

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Guardian Angels

    Laura Cárdenas is the author of this text and a EUROsociAL + expert in the development of an awareness strategy for alternative measures to prison

    Just like every week, Miguel comes to PROMESEM, the Social and Community Insertion Program of the National Institute of Social Inclusion of Adolescents Uruguay (INISA). Every day psychologists, social educators, professors and teachers await to work closely with him and to comply with the sanction imposed by the court for the crime he committed, after a year of confinement, now in an open environment. “They are my guardian angels,” he explains. And that is the atmosphere in the INISA centre. Hugs, smiles, the smell of incense, decorated walls and teenagers, men and women, who are looking for encouragement and a way to make up for the damage they caused, to society and to themselves.

     

    Miguel is one of more than 300 teenagers who are under the protection of INISA, the governing body in charge of young people guilty of criminal conduct, within a system in which imprisonment “has been the rule rather than the exception”, according to its president, Gabriela Fulco.  That is why the State has created a new model for addressing non-custodial measures that “responds to the need to comply with the commitment acquired by the State on ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child ” and implies more extensive application of socio-educational and reintegration measures, facilitating the continuity of the social and family lives of teenagers and establishing peace within the community.

     

    Because of this, the European Union, through its EUROsociAL + programme, which is managed by the FIIAPP, is assisting INISA in this process by exchanging experiences and good practices in European and Latin American public policies in this area. These include designing a communication and awareness-raising strategy to serve as a guide to raise awareness among Uruguay’s citizens, state institutions, media and private sector of the need to promote the application of measures other than imprisonment to improve social cohesion.

     

    As explained by Fulco, from the perspective of both children’s rights and citizen security, imprisonment does not solve the problem of insecurity or improve the possibilities of social reintegration of teenagers. However, the model that applies alternative sanctions to imprisonment through socio-educational measures has demonstrated internationally lower rates of recidivism and greater reintegration.

     

    Integral work

     

    PROMESEN serves teenagers who have previously been imprisoned and others who have not . According to its director, Fernanda Albistur, there is a big difference between them: “Those who come after being incarcerated are stunned, during the initial weeks they do not even want to leave the house and many are afraid to come alone. They keep hearing the noises of the prison, the padlocks, the doors … It is much more difficult to get them to participate in the programme. Confinement also aggravates the family situation and all the conflicts they had prior to their detention and that were frozen reappear, “explains Albistur. “We often ask ourselves what we can do to repair the institutional damage caused by confinement, what we can do to repair the horrible experiences they have had.”

     

    Miguel went every week to the geriatric hospital Piñeiro del Campo, where elderly homeless people live, as part of one of the community service programmes the socio-educational sanction requires.

     

    Laura Berois, a teacher, accompanied the teenagers in this activity. “They have very complex lives and when faced with situations more difficult than theirs they become aware of how important it is to look after themselves,” she says.

     

    Mariela, who also participates in this programme, lives with her parents and grandparents in a neighbourhood that she does not like, she explains.  Now Mariela says that she has realised that “it is useless to take the easy way. You have to fight and live peacefully with other human beings . ”  Mariela imagines a future in which she can continue with her studies “to work and bring up my family because I want to be a nurse to be able to heal people”.  “I still have two months left to keep coming, but I’m going to do it. In addition, there are good people here, they help us “, she emphasises.

     

    Sofia Rodríguez is one of the PROMESEM educators. Every day, she faces the challenging task of seeing the conditions in which the teenagers live. Their basic needs and rights have been totally violated which is why “they care so little about their own lives”. They are teenagers who are totally excluded from society, from the education system, who are born and live in a criminal environment, which is why Sofia asks: “How can they be expected to respect the rights of others if all their own rights have been totally violated? Nobody questions why adolescents in trouble with the law do not belong to the middle or upper classes, but to the poor. As a society, we are responsible for what is happening”, she insists.

     

    Most have been neglected throughout their lives . Some have serious psychological disorders and cannot distinguish between right and wrong”, explains Carolina, one of the centre’s psychologists. However, all the workers at the centre praise these teenagers’ resilience.

     

    “I have never been treated as well as at Piñeiro Hospital. What’s more, the old people were always waiting for us and when we left they were sad. We did art together and even did an exhibition of the works at Santo Domingo City Hall”, says Miguel.  Now, Miguel, thanks to the agreement between the Municipality of Montevideo and INISA and, above all, to his change of attitude, has found a job and will be able to meet the needs of his newborn son and those of his family.

  • 29 November 2018

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    The importance of more effective international judicial cooperation

    Antonio Roma, coordinator of cooperation between justice systems at EL PAcCTO, reflects on the role and value of international judicial cooperation within the framework of the project

    Today, international judicial cooperation is a necessity for all countries. In particular, if we talk about the European system, we have gone from cooperation between states to cooperation between judges of states, without the need to go through a centralised control system of administrative authorities. In that regard, in Europe, we therefore have extensive experience based on a principle of integration.

     

    With the objective of developing this integration, at EL PAcCTO—a project financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, and in collaboration with the Italo-Latin American Institute and the Camões Institute of Portugal—we work to strengthen effective judicial cooperation with Latin America. The region is full of professionals—true professionals, for that matter—who work in their respective countries and who are highly competent. However, the structures they have for working in international judicial cooperation remain very dependent on cooperation between states. At EL PAcCTO, we can go as far as the will of the states determines, since it is an on-demand project.

     

    In any case, we are making a very strong commitment to facilitating cooperation systems, by increasing the acts of cooperation available to them. It is not about allowing them to help foreign judges or foreign prosecutors, but about giving them the best conditions to request help abroad: to open their borders to the world in order to receive information and investigate the crimes they are dealing with.

     

    We are working through several lines: for example, we are facilitating an update of international cooperation laws to give them access to the new techniques that inevitably arrive. The truth is that crime advances so fast, money moves so fast, and the perpetrators of crimes cross borders so quickly, that any attempt to continue with a scheme based on cooperation between states typical of the mid-twentieth century leads to few results.

     

    Organised crime requires being very up-to-date, and to achieve this, picking up the pace is very important. For this reason, we are working on the creation of joint investigation teams and other innovative cooperation techniques between states, and also in relation to cybercrime, because the existing forms of cooperation in this area, such as instant contacts between the state police and fiscal authorities, are in need of an update.

     

    We are also establishing a line of work that is being used by different nations to facilitate computer technical systems. In this way, the system users, i.e. the prosecutor or the policeman who is on the last corner of the state border, will have the mechanisms to not only get the information, but also the facility to prepare cooperation events with other states. All of this will be made simple, facilitating the work of all parties and ultimately promoting greater international cooperation between them.

     

    In short, EL PAcCTO is not based on training courses or on knowledge updates; instead we seek to have an effect which is as direct and practical as possible and, therefore, to learn by doing but also and, above all, by improving structures, systems and techniques.

  • 16 August 2018

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “Large-scale corruption requires a global response and cooperation”

    Delia Ferreira is President of the NGO Transparency International and in this interview, she tells us about some advances against corruption as well as challenges that are still pending

    How can we bring about a cultural change in our societies regarding the phenomenon of corruption, so that it stops being seen as a natural phenomenon?  

     

    The fact that corruption is normal is a central problem in our societies. Corruption appears when it is installed structurally as the normal way of doing business or to get aid or whatever you need from the State in the way of services. This is a problem that has to do with rebuilding certain agreements about the basic values of a society. For years these agreements have been broken as has the understanding about what was good and what was bad in societies.  Even if one analyses what the perception of a very small child is about what is fair or unfair, it is much clearer than the perception that this child is going to have when he (she) permeates social criteria over the years. We must work hard on education and discuss  again what is acceptable and what is not, because, when corruption becomes the norm, there is no longer an effective antidote, because in the fight against corruption the partner that we really need is a society that is mobilised, citizen by citizen, aware of what should be allowed and what should not.  Conditions must be created to promote or channel that social energy. 

     

    What are the challenges for international coordination in the fight against corruption from examples of global institutionalised corruption like the Lavo Jato case?  

     

    Large-scale corruption, like the Lava Jato case, poses different challenges for the justice system than the corruption cases seen previously, however big they were in monetary terms, because this is a global phenomenon and, therefore, requires a global response and cooperation, not only at the country level but also between all agencies.  This is one of the problems faced by the justice system when it wants to investigate these cases. Not only access to banking information, tax information, information on money laundering organisations, which should be made far easier for the judges and prosecutors who are investigating, but also the need for international cooperation. 

     

    This is why the procedural rules must be changed in many countries and the international conventions on fighting corruption must be altered, because we continue to face this type of problem in a situation in which money is moved from one country to another with a mouse click on a computer, in a matter of seconds, and it disappears off the radar.  Here, we are confronted with the same mechanisms for dealing with the government as we had in the 19th century: the judge prepares an official letter that goes to the government, the government sends it to the government of another country, which sends it to a judge, and that judge says that he lacks a detail and returns it, and months go by, if not years, before the information is obtained. Also, if the money moves from one country to another, or from one social structure to another, or to another fiscal paradise in a matter of seconds, it is impossible to follow its trail, which is essential for investigating corruption. 

     

    Recently , an Anti-Corruption Legal Aid Centre (ALAC) was inaugurated in Chile, with the support of EUROsociAL+ , a programme managed by FIIAPP. What is the value of this centre for allegations of corruption and how will it serve as a link between the State and citizens?  

     

    ALACs already exist in our chapters in over 60 countries. The idea behind these centres is to support victims of corruption or those who know of cases of corruption and want to report them and do not have the legal or judicial support needed to do so.  ALACs have allowed us to trigger allegations of corruption in many countries around the world, because it is no longer an individual citizen but an organisation that is linked with the Public Prosecution Service and can channel the complaints and follow them through. 

     

    In many of these countries what we have are agreements with their bar associations that allow us to have top-level legal advice from lawyers who work on the cases pro bono and provide, through ALACs, contact with those who want to go to court and do not know how.  Also, these ALAC centres have provided us with a great deal of information on how corruption operates in the countries, direct, first-hand information that would have been difficult to gather otherwise, since corruption operates in total secrecy, receipts are not handed out for corruption except in exceptional cases in which a record was kept of the accounting, as happened with Odrebrecht, which had a section of the company devoted to these structured operations. 

     

    To what extent does corruption have different effects on women?  

     

    An important sector in which to find a gender difference is in relation to access to services and allowances that are linked to petty corruption. This is because women are responsible for care-giving tasks and, therefore, we are the visible face that is requesting the aid, because poverty has been feminised and the poorest sectors are those that need the cooperation of the State in the provision of those services. 

     

    Another factor that specifically punishes women, or does so in a more substantial manner, is the area of exchange currencies. In many petty corruption cases, sexual favours are demanded or they give rise to situations of harassment in which women are victims twice over.  

     

    The corruption barometer, which is one of International Transparency’s measuring tools, shows that in the region, areas of public policy like health, education and social plans are perceived as being the most corrupt or the most prone to corruption, and these are the areas clearly linked to care-giving tasks and requesting allowances.  So, corruption has a different effect on men and women. 

     

    The other two areas of the state in which different effects can be observed are the police and the courts. When the police and the courts are affected by corruption, the women who have to resort to them in cases of discrimination, domestic or gender violence, femicides, rape or harassment face the fact that, when they defend their rights in an area dominated by corruption, instead of finding protection and a guarantee of these rights, they end up being victims.