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Transparency International calls on Dominican Republic to stop weakening fight against corruption and citizen participation

Transparency International, the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, and its national chapters belonging to the Network for Transparency in Central America and the Dominican Republic, called today on President Danilo Medina to reject the current proposal to amend the Criminal Procedure Code.

The reform package submitted by Congress to the Executive in recent days included the deletion of paragraph III of Article 85 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This would eliminate the right of all citizens to sue public officials for misconduct in the performance of their duties. If President Medina, who has the authority to revise the proposal, does not stop this measure, citizens will be limited in their ability to control and monitor public officials and to tackle corruption.

“President Medina has the opportunity to show by his actions that he believes in democracy and the fight against corruption. If, despite his 2012 campaign promises, he allows this measure, he will open the door to corrupt officials and their counterparts in the private sector to act more freely. Corruption is widespread because the corrupt continue to get away with it. The public understands this risk and has raised its voice as was seen last Saturday at the Independence Park,” said Alejandro Salas, Transparency International’s Regional Director for the Americas.

The deletion of this paragraph stands in contradiction to international best practices and conventions to which the Dominican Republic has committed itself, especially in respect to citizen participation and their ability to report corruption. The Anti-Corruption Conventions of the Organization of American States and of the United Nations are commitments of the government in the name of the country towards the international community.

“Let’s not forget that the country’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index score is only 29, on a scale from 0 - perceived to be highly corrupt - to 100 - perceived to be very clean,” said Manfredo Marroquín, Secretary General of the Network for Transparency in Central America and the Dominican Republic. “The corrupt should be brought to justice and not receive protection for their crimes,” Marroquín added.

Transparency International and its members in the region will closely monitor this situation going forward, in order to ensure that the government keeps its word and strengthens, rather than weakens, the commitment towards its citizens and the international community.

Note to editors: The Network for Transparency in Central America and the Dominican Republic – which incorporates all Transparency International national chapters in that region – consists of:

Acción Ciudadana – Guatemala
Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa – Honduras
Costa Rica Integra – Costa Rica
Grupo Cívico Ética y Transparencia – Nicaragua
Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo (FUNDE) – El Salvador
Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana – Panama
Participación Ciudadana –Dominican Republic
Americas Department, Transparency International


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