News & Resources

Training Mexican Journalists on Integrity and Respect for Human Rights

October 2015

Following criminal justice reforms in Mexico, Tetra Tech is helping foster a culture of respect through a focus on journalists.

A year after criminal justice reforms were introduced in Mexico, journalists had a limited understanding of the changes, even in states where the reform process was more advanced. Recognizing the critical role of journalists in fostering the necessary cultural change to accompany the reforms, Tetra Tech’s USAID-funded PROJUST project is implementing an extensive training program for journalists, editors, and chief information officers across the country on the new laws.

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Workshop for journalists, “How to Report Under the New Criminal Justice System” in Saltillo, Coahuila State

Working closely with the Government of Mexico’s Technical Secretariat for the Implementation of the Criminal System (SETEC), PROJUST has provided key training to communications professionals from media outlets in 16 Mexican states to date. In one of the workshops, “How to Report Under the New Criminal Justice System,” journalist and instructor Omar Sánchez de Tagle explained that reporters now respect the rights of all involved in criminal proceedings. For example, as the head of SETEC in Hidalgo State explained: "In local newspapers such as El Sol de Hidalgo, the one with the highest circulation, I saw that articles being published are already implementing the suggestions from the workshops. For instance, they now obscure the faces of the people appearing in photographs [to protect their privacy].” He went on to state that in his view, Tetra Tech’s workshops for journalists have perceptibly affected news stories around the country.


 

Tetra Tech Project Supports Civil Damages Calculator

September 2015

Tool for calculating civil damages in corruption cases is the first of its kind in Latin America.

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Tetra Tech’s Pro-Integridad project in Peru has helped the government address one of the biggest challenges in corruption cases: how to calculate the damages due from persons convicted of crimes against the public administration where there is no quantifiable financial loss. The project worked with the Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Anti-Corruption to develop a methodology for calculating civil damages in such cases. The methodology uses records in the Public Attorney's database going back to 2000, including on the amounts defrauded, the rank of the officials in question, and the level of media exposure. This information is fed into an IT tool, or simulator, which calculates damages owed to the state on a case-by-case basis.

Anti-corruption attorneys’ offices have installed the calculation tool on their systems and have been trained on its use. Dr. Percy Capillo López, anticorruption prosecutor in San Martin, stated that "the simulator will help the state attorneys to better argue and support the requests for civil damages before judges so that the amounts recognized in favor of the State are realistic and proportionate to the harm caused."

 

Tetra Tech Building Capacity of Ivoirian Justice Sector Personnel

September 2015

Extensive training-of-trainers program for magistrates and judicial police officers is strengthening courts’ capacity and improving access to justice in Côte d'Ivoire.

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Tetra Tech’s USAID-funded ProJustice program is working to improve the administration of justice in Côte d'Ivoire by strengthening the capacity of magistrates, court staff, and judicial police officers (JPOs) in 11 pilot courts. To build this capacity and enable the National Institute of Judicial Training (INFJ) to train even more magistrates and JPOs, ProJustice implemented a train-the-trainer (TOT) program to identify and train justice sector personnel.

An international expert trained a first group of magistrates and JPOs to become trainers, conveying such concepts as creating team spirit among participants, establishing rules for communication, and managing time effectively. This group went on to train a second group of trainers, who in turn have put their training into practice by leading ProJustice's joint training program for magistrates and JPOs in the project's 11 pilot courts. With their assistance, the project has trained over 300 magistrates and JPOs.

Participants have uniformly complimented ProJustice on the quality and utility of the training sessions, particularly for jointly training magistrates and JPOs to improve their communication and collaboration. Asked for her impressions, Magistrate Noëlle Angeline Petey said she particularly appreciated the design of the training kit which contains several teaching methods. “It ranged from … theoretical lesson[s to] practical case scenarios …. The training I received from ProJustice allowed me to enhance my teaching skills."

With support from this expanded pool of trainers, ProJustice next designed new training kits for use in the INFJ's continuing education program. ProJustice also developed a TOT manual for use by the INFJ. In addition to promoting the sustainability of the ProJustice training program, by expanding the number of trainers Tetra Tech’s TOT methodology is expected to enable more widespread training of magistrates and JPOs in the Ivoirian judicial system.

 

Raising Awareness of the Criminal Procedure Law in Macedonia

August 2015

Tetra Tech helps citizens learn about their rights and obligations in criminal proceedings following large-scale reforms of the national legal system.

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A new Law on Criminal Procedure (LCP) in the Republic of Macedonia transformed criminal procedures in the country. Recognizing the enormous changes in criminal procedures wrought by the LCP, the Rule of Law Council (ROLC) (an informal platform of civil society organizations and legal professional associations) recognized the urgent need to inform citizens about their rights and obligations under the new law. Tetra Tech’s Judicial Strengthening Project, which had supported the establishment of the ROLC, pledged to support its public outreach activities.

The ROLC first conducted a public awareness campaign on the LCP on a number of communication channels. Three video spots targeted potential victims, criminals, witnesses, and legal practitioners. Each spot conveyed its message by using examples of everyday family situations to demonstrate the new roles Macedonians might find themselves in under the new criminal procedure rules. In addition, ROLC printed brochures for the general public and for the legal community and distributed them to every court, public prosecution office, and detention center in Macedonia.

During the awareness-raising campaign, 66.4% of the target group (18-35 year olds) saw the television spot more than once, while 38.1% saw it more than three times. The campaign's Facebook page had 3,510 fans and 3,926 “Likes”, the television spot posted on Facebook reached 392,472 people, and the web page received 7,625 views. These numbers clearly demonstrate that a significant number of citizens were exposed to the campaign message and gained knowledge of their rights and obligations under the new LCP.

 

Tetra Tech Updating Myanmar's Court Procedures

August 2015

Tetra Tech is working with the Supreme Court to update the existing Courts Manual and introduce a modern case management plan.

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Following decades of isolation, Myanmar's judiciary is reviewing existing systems, policies, and practices and has been seeking guidance on international best practices for justice sector reform. Tetra Tech’s USAID-funded Promoting the Rule of Law Project (PRLP) is working with the Office of the Supreme Court of the Union to establish a national Case Management Committee tasked with re-evaluating and modernizing the country’s Courts Manual which dates back to 1960. While much of the Manual’s guidance remains relevant, some of it has not been consistently followed and would benefit from re-examination and the introduction of modern case management practices. The new Courts Manual is being implemented in several PRLP-supported pilot courts and, following an evaluation of the experience in the pilot courts, is intended to be rolled out in courts across the country.

One part of the Manual is a new Case Management Plan, which is designed to address chronic delays in Myanmar’s courts that undermine court calendars as well as the cases themselves, whether due to poorly prepared attorneys or failure of witnesses or police to appear. Under the Plan, litigants in the pilot courts will see major changes, including the introduction of case management conferences, case scheduling orders signed by the judges and the parties (cited by judges and experts as the single, most effective delay-reduction tool), and pretrial conferences. The result will be a custom-made road map for each case provided to the parties at the outset of litigation, instilling clarity about the various steps and the expectations of each party.

Although implementation of these new procedures has encountered some resistance and challenges because they diverge from decades-old judicial practices, the new Courts Manual and Case Management Plan are notable steps in Myanmar’s justice sector reform process.