Changes suggested for the SCJ

Diario Libre has consulted a series of legal experts on the situation created by the Supreme Court’s latest decisions.

A reduction in citizens’ right to find justice and the lack of leadership in the Supreme Court are cause enough for 2009 to be a year of profound changes within the high court because, according to these lawyers, “(the court) has reached its limits and fulfilled its historic mission.”

Legal Experts Eduardo Jorge Prats, Pedro Dominguez Brito, Pedro Justo Castellanos and Jesus Colon Arache joined in expressing their conviction that a new structure was needed for the court.

Jorge Prats pointed out the challenges for the coming year. He said that the consolidation of judicial independence and the strengthening of the program to modernize the justice system in the constitutional reform is a great opportunity to achieve these objectives so that the justice system can truly become the controller of the other state powers. He predicted that a de-centralization and a de-concentration would occur in the court, all for the benefit of an independent judiciary.

Castellanos, the rector of Apec University and a former director of the Department for the Prevention of Administrative Corruption (Depreco), accepts that the judiciary is better now than before, but he feels that the National Council of Magistrates should be convened to make the changes in the Supreme Court. He defends the idea of a needed renovation in the internal structure in order to strengthen the court.

“I think that other judges should be given a chance, there are very good judges in the Appeal Courts in all the country’s Judicial Departments, thanks to the work of the Supreme Court,” said Dominguez Brito. He does not worry so much about the problem of the Sun Land Case, but about the fact that there was a lack of leadership evident in the court. In the judgment of the lawyer from Santiago, this situation is not limited to the differences that might exist in terms of interpretation of the law, but rather something deeper.

Colon Arache set out the idea of an urgent renovation, because judicial independence implies a new deal for Dominican society. He said that the rights of citizens should be at the forefront of the justice system.