The Nicaragua Code Reform and Modernization Program (1999-2005)
CAJ was awarded a $7.3 million contract over six years from USAID to provide technical assistance and training to the GON Supreme Court in reform of codes. The project provided a unique opportunity to support the efforts of the Government of Nicaragua (GON) and USAID to ensure successful implementation of the significant reforms undertaken by the Nicaraguan justice sector by drawing on FIU’s years of successful experience and partnership with AID and other donor organizations in regional legal reform ventures. As its institutional subcontractor, FIU selected the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR) whose record of accomplishment in justice reform and commitment to human rights is unmatched in the region. FIU organized a project team composed of leading experts from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States fully capable of assisting the GON and USAID in bringing about this important project’s goals and objectives.
The project included promoting the enactment of the Administrative Code and assisting in its implementation; promoting the enactment of a New Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes, assisting in their implementation and encouraging fair access to a modern and democratic justice system; strengthening the Judicial School training capacities and training judicial personnel and justice sector operators in all newly enacted laws (Judiciary’s Organic Law, administrative, criminal and criminal procedure codes); promoting the understanding of modern trends in administrative law, criminal law and criminal procedure law among Nicaraguan judges and; promoting the enactment of an ethics code and assisting in its implementation.
The Center for the Administration of Justice was fortunate to have the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights as its institutional subcontractor in this project, Dr. Cesar Barrientos, as its Chief of Party, Dr. José María Tijerino, as its Deputy Chief of Party, Gustavo Vega Vargas as its Training Coordinator and Azucena Torrez as its Local Administrative and Financial Manager. Persons intimately acquainted with project management and administration of justice issues staffed FIU's Home Office. Both Luis Salas (FIU’s Project Manager and Institutional Representative) and Ana Teresa Carazo (Home Office Coordinator) provided direct technical assistance in addition to their project management responsibilities.
- agreement, approval and implementation of the new Criminal Procedure Code.
- drafting and consensus of opinion of the Penal Code.
- Encouraging and supporting the active participation of civil society in the process of analysis and recommendations to the Judicial Career Law.
- Assistance to the Supreme Court in the process of analysis, writing, consensus and approval of the Law Regulating the Jurisdiction of Administrative Litigation.
- Support for the Supreme Court on the implementation of the Organic Law of the Judiciary.
- 38% of the most remote departments were trained in the areas of immunity, human rights, and gender.
- 86% of the country's universities updated their curriculum, encouraging 92% of law students nationwide.
- 60% of associations and trial lawyers were trained in the new Criminal Procedure Code.
- 86% of professors at colleges and law schools were trained in the new Criminal Procedure Code.
- 74% of journalists from leading media received courses on judicial reform.
- 6945 promoters and 1631 mediators of rural communities were formed in the areas of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
- 30 judges were trained in improving the performance of the judicial function.
- 2000 attendees at a conference on "Judicial Independence and Confidence in Justice."