U.S. Supports Transparency in Justice Forum

On March 3, 2010 at the Tequendama Hotel in Bogota, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Excellence in Justice Corporation and the Transparency for Colombia Corporation sponsored the Transparency in Justice Forum, an event set to analyze the situation of the Colombian justice system. High public figures from academic and institutional sectors shared their views and tasks to guarantee a transparent and timely justice that will tend to the needs of the people.

U.S Ambassador William R. Brownfield, Gloria Maria Borrero, Executive Director of the Corporation for Excellence in Justice; Elisabeth Ungar, Executive Director of the Corporation for Transparency in Colombia; Alexander Ordoñez, Procurator General; Julio Cesar Turbay Quintero, Comptroller General; and Julia Emma Garzon de Gomez, chairperson of the Disciplinary Room for the Supreme Council of the Judicature, attended the event.

According to the 2009 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Colombia ranks 75 among 180 nations in the world (3.7 over 10). The same Index ranks Somalia as the most corrupt country graded 1.1 over 10 and New Zealand earned the first place with citizen Perception Index of 9.4 over 10.

The Forum provided an overview of the international commitments signed by Colombia to make justice more transparent and efficient, and will refer to experiences from other countries to improve its systems.

USAID carried out several projects to fight corruption in the Colombian judicial sector and promote transparency in its processes. Some of these projects include support for organizations to design a survey that evidences the features of corruption risks in the justice system and the creation of proposals to fight them, all the way to the creation of various exercises in Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Atlántico, Magdalena, Bolivar and Cundinamarca departments. The sum allotted by USAID to carry out these activities surpasses $429 million pesos.

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