Launching of the Justice Sector Strengthening Project

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

SAN SALVADOR– USAID’s $21.4 million Justice Sector Improvement Project will provide support to the Government of El Salvador to reduce impunity and improve citizen trust in government institutions, through a more cohesive, effective, and transparent justice system.  The Justice Sector Improvement Project complements the U.S. and Salvadoran governments’ activities for crime prevention under the Partnership for Growth Joint Country Action Plan. 

The new project will promote the professionalization of the criminal justice sector, the improvement of procedures and practices of criminal justice, community police, and judicial transparency.

"To the extent that the justice system becomes more effective, impunity is reduced, trust in institutions increases and, more importantly, criminal justice becomes a real obstacle to crime. Thus, the Justice Sector Strengthening Project complements the efforts of USAID and the Government of El Salvador in the areas of security and crime prevention,” said U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte, during the launch of the project.

USAID will work with all justice sector institutions in the criminal justice component: the Supreme Court of Justice, Attorney General's Office,  Ombudsman’s Office, National Judicial Council and National Police,  and will provide training for the implementation of the Criminal Procedure Code, the use of scientific evidence, and a community policing program.  A pilot judicial transparency component with civil society will strengthen the demand for constant improvement of justice services.

USAID and the Government of El Salvador marked the launch of the project with the inauguration in the municipality of Sonsonate of a new Rapid Response Unit, a highly successful initiative developed under a previous phase of the project.  USAID had provided support for the establishment of 14 units.  Five additional units, including Sonsonate, will be established under the new USAID project.  These units were designed to decrease the serious backlog of cases and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of prosecutor and judicial proceedings.  Rapid Response Units handle “minor” criminal matters such as burglary, theft, drunken driving, and manslaughter (traffic accidents), when subjects have been apprehended in the commission of the crime.  The units have proven to be extremely beneficial to all users (prosecutors, court, police, suspects, and crime victims), ensuring speedy trials and resolutions.  Today, over 70 percent of all cases of the Office of the Attorney General are being channeled through the Rapid Response Units, and court resolutions reached within 35 days from case initiation (compared to the average resolution of 1-2 years for other types of procedures).

Last updated: June 19, 2014

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