The Colegio Nacional de Abogados de Panamá, the country's national bar association, has asked that the United Nations intervene in the court system, to remove the corrupt members of the Supreme Court of Justice, and reform the system from the top down. In a public plea, the attorneys' association has requested that the UN Special Rapporteur on Judicial Independence step in, and fix the broken justice system, as Panama's internal government system is unable, or unwilling, to do so.
Legal observers have been complaining for years that the Supreme Court justices can be bought, either to delay a case indefinitely, or to obtain a favorable court decision that it contrary to the rule of law. The public, having noted that the justices, most of whom were appointed by former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, are interfering with his prosecution on multiple corruption and domestic spying charges, have called for the removal of all nine justices.
Panama has no effective control over its judiciary, who sell justice, intentionally shelve and lose files, and do the bidding of the lawyer paying the largest bribe. The Chief Judge himself, facing multiple charges, remains on the bench, with no effective means of removing him, or his corrupt brethren.
The powerful influence of Panama's powerful organized crime group, whose bribes and kickbacks are a major influence on judicial decisions, or the lack of them, is so pervasive that claimants simply cannot obtain justice in the court system, unless they participate in the payment of massive bribes and gifts. That the bar association is seeking United Nations assistance shows the level of desperation attorneys have reached, as their clients, particularly foreign investors and expats, are being effectively denied access to the court system, to redress their grievances, whether they be civil or criminal in nature.
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