The Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, traveled to Ciudad de Panama (Panama) to lead, together with the interim Procurador General of that country, Javier E. Caraballo Salazar, the meeting ‘Encuentro de Fiscales y Procuradores Generales para el combate al crimen organizado en el contexto del flujo migratorio irregular continental, extracontinental y caribeño’. A meeting between prosecutors and attorney generals for the fight against organized crime in the context of the irregular continental, extracontinental and Caribbean migratory flow in which multilateral strategies to strengthen the judicial cooperation ties and to dismantle criminal networks responsible for smuggling migrants in the region were defined.
The meeting was attended by representatives of different General Attorney’s Offices and Public Ministries of Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay in which the general context of irregular migration and its possible criminal implications were presented.
The Attorney General insisted on the need to undertake the fight against this transnational scourge in a collaborative manner and confront it with determination to prevent it from becoming a source to support illegal activities and to stop sponsoring other criminal acts such as criminal conspiracy, sexual violence, homicide, theft, extortion, cybercrimes, state corruption and other behaviors that affect public safety.
“The purpose of this opening is that we all need to work together, we need to create prioritization groups in the fight against crime because there are people and criminal groups that are promoting it, we need to avoid violation of human rights through the judicial actions that we are carrying out”, emphasized the head of the Colombian investigative institution.
About Colombia, he pointed out that the weekly entry of at least 15,000 foreign citizens to the Darien region, bordering Panama, has deepened a humanitarian crisis that needs dynamic and active investigative work to prevent this phenomenon from increasing and to achieve the effective prosecution of those people responsible.
Currently, there are 547 active processes in the Attorney General´s Office regarding smuggling of migrants (344 under inquiry, 78 under investigation, 112 in the trial stage, 10 in enforcement of sentences and, in 3 cases, there was a plea bargain.
The 66.73% of the facts related to this crime are consolidated in three departments of the country (149 took place in Bogotá, 112 in Nariño and 102 in Antioquia).
The active processes are related to 353 victims of migrants smuggling (200 men, 126 women and there is no registry of the remaining people. Most of the affected people (173) are of from Colombia, which represents 50.44%; and 85 are from Cuba which is equal to 25%.
In order to improve the response capacity of the institution regarding smuggling of migrants, the Office of the Attorney General gave training sessions to prosecutors and judicial police personnel, with regard to the type of crime, the differentiation of the participating parties, and the approach and assistance to victims.
Likewise, the cases with the greatest impact will be prioritized and the joint work and accompaniment by the main Office to different sectional offices will be strengthened, as well as the coordination of capacities with other institutions.
At the end of the first part of the meeting, which will be carried out until August 31, the Procurador General of Panama (e), Javier E. Caraballo Salazar, pointed out that the statement issued by the nine participating countries regarding the subject of this meeting “represents the commitment of all (…) to assume a common strategy in the fight against organized crime that underlies the irregular migratory flows that are affecting the region. (…) to have a fluent exchange of information and judicial cooperation to carry out successful operations in a national and multilateral manner, fighting a regional phenomenon, with a regional effort ”.
The Attorney General Barbosa Delgado added that “this is the initial step of a collective project that will be monitored in Colombia during a month and a half to produce the results that we are going to obtain for the continent in a joint manner. It is a valuable initiative of several countries in the region (…), a great alliance of the Judicial Branch, of the judicial autonomies of the countries for the benefit of the citizens of each of our nations”.
When we speak, results follow.