PANAMA’S Chamber Chamber of Commerce, (Cciap) has joined the growing chorus of civil groups calling for urgent changes to the country’s judicial system.
In a statement issued on Sunday, September 4 it urges authorities and society to work on the "rearrangement" of the system. through a constitutional reform "to advance as a nation respectful of the law, with a Judicial Body that is a true counterweight that would and administer justice in an impartial and efficient manner."
The position of the business association follows the report last week by Attorney General Kenia Porcell,
last week that cases that investigations of corruption and money laundering run the risk of being unfinished through impunity and that there are pressures and threats against prosecutors handling cases.
President, Juan Carlos Varela, has called on the Judicial Branch to act in the interests of the nation, in order to recover more than a $1.5 billion diverted from the Panamanian people during the last government.
In this context, the Cciap said the process of designating new judges of the Supreme Court of Justice becomes more important, "
“We appeal that those who are selected for these positions, are the most suitable people, with high moral standards and are selected after a broad debate to check such merits.
"It is necessary that in Panama we achieve a true state where the law prevails and is applied equally to all, without difference, "the organization said .
Varela has already said he will not be relying on civil input in the selection of judges, but will use his constitutional right to chose two new judges in December. One of his last choices made the controversial ruling over the $125 million purchase of radars from Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, that absolve former Security Minister Raul Mulino and created a national furor.
Haha! Probably not. But if the Constitution only allows for appointments to Supreme Court, well that's it. Besides, let him shoulder the responsibility for bad decisions and let the media attack him.
I don't know if Varela is without fleas.
Varela is quite right to uphold the constitution for the President to appoint Supreme Court Justices but with that right comes responsibility. I guess that would mean the decision of one of his last choices was not particularly wise; so the latest judicial fiasco falls partly on his shoulders. From the last bits of news reporting, I gleaned that he saw his flawed decision and is trying to right it. Don't know what the constitution allows him to do in this regard. If he can't intervene, then it should be a lesson that he needs to sharpen his choices so that impunity against the Panamanian people does not happen under his watch.