Comparative law and justice/Panama

From Wikiversity
Jump to: navigation, search

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

Scale of justice 2 new.jpeg Subject classification: this is a comparative law and justice resource .

jtejada_3464


Basic Information[edit]

Flag of Panama.svg

One of the most important symbols to represent this country is the Panamian flag which has a significant meaning. "The flag is divided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red; the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center; the blue and red colors are those of the main political parties (Conservatives and Liberals respectively) and the white denotes peace between them; the blue star stands for the civic virtues of purity and honesty, the red star signifies authority and law".[1]

Panama is located in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. Panama is located between Colombia & Costa Rica. The total area of Panama is 75,420 sq km and the land total area is 74,340 sq km. Panama is about the size of South Carolina. The total of the land boundaries is 555 km. Colombia is 225 km and Costa Rica is 330 km. The climate in Panama is hot, humid, cloudy, rainy season is from May to January and it has dry season from January to May. Panama has a mostly steep interior, rugged mountain, and upland plains. The coastal areas in Panama are largely plains and rolling hills. The total estimate of population in Panama is 3,360,474. 85% of the people in Panama are Roman Catholic and 15% are Protestant. Traditional beliefs and practices have been maintained among the native American groups despite a history of missionization. The dominate language spoken in Panama is Spanish, and 14% of the Panamian people speak English ; many Panamians are bilingual. Some ethnic groups that live in Panama are: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%. [2]

Brief History[edit]

Panama map.png

The Spanish settled in Panama in the 16th century. In 1821, Panama joined a union that consisted of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela called the Republic of Gran Colombia. When things started to go down the drain for Panama in 1830, Panama still kept being apart of Colombia. In 1903, with the support from the United States Panama managed to withdraw from Colombia. Panama then signes a treaty with the United States which states that they have permission to construct a canal known as the Panama Canal Zone. The canal was built from 1904-1914 by the US Army Corps. of Engineers. By 1977, Panama signed an agreement that stated that they wanted a complete transfer of the canal from the U.S. to Panama. Certain parts of Panama gained responsiblity of their canals and were sent over to subquent decades. The canals in Panama with the help of the United States military and the United States alone the canals in Panama weere sent to Panama by the end of 1999. In October of 2006 Panamians allowed for canals to be expanded. The canal project that was taken place in Panama began in 2007 and is expected to be completed 2014.[3]

Economic Development, Health, & Education[edit]

The age structure for Panama is 0-14 years: 29.3% (male 501,950/female 481,750) 15-64 years: 63.9% (male 1,085,435/female 1,061,530) 65 years and over: 6.8% (male 106,934/female 122,875) (2010 est.) The estimated median age for males is 26.9 years and for females is 27.6 years. The total estimate of median age is 27.2 years. (2010 est.) The population of growth rate 1.503%. The birth rate 20.18 births out of 1,000 populations and the death rate is 4.66 deaths out of 1,000. The female morality rate is estimated to be 12.67 deaths out of 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate for males is 13.53 deaths out of 1,000 live births. The female morality rate for females is 11.77 deaths out of 1,000 live births (2010 est.). In Panama everyone over the age of 15 can read and write a population of 91.9%, 92.5% males and 91.2% females. School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total :14 years, males 13 years and females 14 years. Education expenidures is 3.8% of GDP in Panama. Life expectancy for Panamanian children total population is 77.25 years,74.47 years for males and the life expectancy for females is 80.16 years.the fertility rate in Panama is 2.48 children born/women. People living with hiv/aids in Panama is 20,000. Hiv/aids deaths is fewer than 1,000 people. Some of the major infectious diseases are bacterial diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria. These types of illinesses are caused from food or water.[4] The construction of the canal led to the conquest of yellow fever and advances in public health. A legacy that provided safe drinking water throughout the republic. Gorgas Memorial Hospital specializes in tropical medicine. There is one world-class private hospital, Clinica Paitilla, and several crowded public hospitals. [5] . GDP of Panama is 40.81 billion. GDP total exchange is 24.71 billion. GDP per capita in Panama is $12,100. Labor force in Panama is 1.448 million. Labor force by occupation agriculture 15%, indusrty 17.2%and services is 76.8%. unemplyment rate in Panama is 7%. Population below poverty line is 28.6% in Panama. Distribution of family income is 56.1 investment (gross fixed) 24.1%. Public debt in Panama is 44.7% of GDP. Some agriculture products in Panama are bananas, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegtables, live stock and shrimp. Industries in Panama consist of construction, brewing, cement, sugar millings and other construction materials.[6]

Governance, Elections, & Judicial Review[edit]

Panama has three branches of goverment legislative, excuevtive and judicial. Panama has a constituional democracy. Panama declared Independence day on November 3, 1903 ( from Colombia; and became independent from Spain on November 28, 1821.) Legal systems in Panama are based on a civil law system; the judicial review of legislative acts is held in the Supreme Court of Justices. Excecutive Branch: The chief of estate of Panama is president Richardo Martinelli Berrocal (since July 1, 2009). Vice president of Panama is Juan Carlos Varela (since July 1, 2009). The cabinet is appointed by the president. Legislative Branch: Unicameral National Assembly (71 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five year term. Judicial Branch; Supreme Court of Justices (nine judges are appointed to a 10 year term) five superior courts and three courts of appeal. President and Vice president of Panama is elected on the same ballot by popular vote for a 10 year term ( not eligible for reelection; president & vice president must sit out two terms additional (10 years) before becoming eligible for relection.) Next election will be held in 2014.In Panama peopole are able to vote at the age of 18 and are legal to participate in any government activity.[7] There are some countries that are mandatory to vote including Panama as one of them. These countries include Venezuela, Argentina, Austraila, Beligum, Brazil, Chile, Italy, and Portugal.[8] In Panama the judicial process can take up to serval months. On avaerage it can take up 8 months to a year before a trial date is set and one year till the process is complete.[9]

Courts, & Criminal Law[edit]

Judicial authority in Panama is taken place in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is composed of nine migistrates and nine alternatives which are appointed by the president (subject to approval by the legislavtive assembly) for 10 year term. The migistrates appoint the judges of the Supreme Court then they appoint their circuit judges. In Panama their are 4 superior courts, 18 circuit courts (one civil & one criminal)and one municipal court in each district. There are two tpes of administrative judges in Panama. Some are called " corregidores or night/police". The administrative judges are in charge of hearing minor civil and criminal cases that involve a sentencing of less than a year. According to the municipal mayor these judges are similar to the Justices of the Peace. Their proceedings are not subject to the Code of Criminal Procedure and defendants procedural safeguards afforded in regular courts. In the constitution it states it gurantees a right to counsel for people charged with crimes and requires the provision of public defenders for illiterate criminal defendants. Trial by jury in Panama is acceptable in certain circumstances.[10]

Punishment[edit]

Capital and corporal punishment is prohibited in Panama. The most severe penalty that one is allowed to receive for a single offense is twenty years in prison. Prisoners were required to do labor work in prison even if was not a part of their sentence. The most severe type of punishment one could receive is reclusion which includes a place of confinement called Coilba Penal Colony on the Isla de Coiba which is serving hard labor work. A sentence in reclusion can range from thirty days to twenty years. Simple imprisonment can range from thirty days to eighteen years but it not required serve hard labor work (Coilba). Depending on the seriousness of the crime committed by offenders they were sentenced to reclusion and could be eligible for parole after the offender served three-quarters of their sentence. Offenders that are sent to prison can be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence. Juveniles that committed crimes were are handled in a totally different way due to the fact that they are under age. Juveniles are put into a facility where they are kept from making any contact with severe criminals. Many organizations and agencies worked together to help provide guidance and assistance to the juveniles. All the cases that involved juveniles were not made public because of their age. The Women in Panama received better treatment then men would. The Women’s Rehabilitation Center (Centro Feminino de Rehabilitación) located in Panama City is more of an ideal prison. The Women’s center was under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Mostly all the prisons in Panama were operated by the Department of Corrections. Even though the women’s center was operated by the Department Corrections the nuns established a reputation for discipline. Few complaints were reported from the prisoners at the women’s center. When women were first arrested they were sometimes held overnight or several nights at the Model Jail even though they were segregated women experienced conditions that were a little different than what men experienced. [11]

Law Enforcement, & Legal Personnel[edit]

On February 10, 1990 the president of Panama abolished Panama's military and reformed security by creating Panamas public forces. Panama's public forces include Panamanian National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), and National Board Service. In October 1994, Panamas legislative assembley approved the amendment which prohibited standing military forces but it allowed temporary establishment of police units of counter acts "external aggression". Even though Panama signed the agreement of the amendment money laundering still remains a problem even though reforms in 2000 intended to strengthen cooperation against international financial crimes. [12]

Crime Rates, & Public Opinion[edit]

Crime rates have increased in Panama according to La Prensa. There were 200 murders in the first five months of 2008. The homicide rate in Panama is the the second to lowest in Central America with Cost Rica having the lowest crime rate of murders. Panamaians stated that they felt less safe in Panama than before. Meaning that before they felt more safe in their country.Reporters have reported that crime rates against visitors have been rising. On March 30, 2008 La Prensa reported that there were 429 crimes against vistors in Panama in 2007. As you can see over the years there has been an increase of 100 more cases being reported to La Prensa. The tourism institute in Panama report that out of every 10,000 vistors atleast three crimes get reported. At the end of March 2008, there were 69 crimes reported against tourists. Out of the 69 crimes that get reported 42 were theft, 16 were armed robbies and the 11 left were either faud or financal crimes. Some other crimes that occur in in Panama are drug trafficking, street gangs and kidnappings. [13] Crime is scarce outside of certain parts in Panama City where robberies are common. International drug smuggling is a problem in areas near the border with Colombia. Drug cartels, however, are not reputed to maintain bases within the republic. All the regimes have been able to contain social tensions without endemic violence.[14] Panama has a civil law system.* During the judicial review, international laws are considered in the rulings.[15]

Rights[edit]

Family Law[edit]

Panamanians marry only one spouse at a time. Divorce is permitted under liberal terms by the Civil Code. Couples of African descent on the Atlantic coast tend to live together without marrying. These unions frequently dissolve as men and women may find new partners during the weekly pre-carnival Congo dances.The ideal family for most Panamanians is the nuclear family of a married couple and their children. All the property is inherited equally among all heirs from both parents. In Panama the Civil Code provides for a similar system. In the absence of a will, a deceased widowed man's property goes equally to all his children, male or female. [16]

Human Rights & Social Inequality[edit]

Some recordmmendations that were suggested to the government of Panama (ratification of International human rights stamdard) were: "To ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which was opened for the signature in September 2009, and the Opitional Protocol to the Covenant against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumann or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. To ratify the International Covention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disapperance, signed on September 25, 2007, making the declarations in the articles 31 and 32, and to implement it in national law, in accordance with conventional and customary international law".[17]

Works Cited[edit]

  1. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 27 Sep. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  2. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 27 Sep. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  3. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 27 sep. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  4. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 27 Sep. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  5. "Culture of Panama - Traditional, History, People, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family, Social, Dress, Marriage, Men, Life, Immigrants, Population, Rituals, History and Ethnic Relations." Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <http://www.everyculture.com/No-Sa/Panama.html#ixzz11P8zpfzL>.
  6. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 27 Sep. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  7. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  8. Sussman, By Dalia. "Poll: Americans Oppose Compulsory Voting - ABC News." ABCNews.com - ABCNews.com: Breaking News, Politics, World News, Good Morning America, Exclusive Interviews - ABC News. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=120577&page=1>.
  9. Arrest of a U.S. Citizen." Home. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <http://panama.usembassy.gov/arrest_of_a_u.s._citizen.html>.
  10. "Judicial System - Panama." Encyclopedia of the Nations - Information about Countries of the World, United Nations, and World Leaders. Web. 01 Nov. 2010. <http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Panama-JUDICIAL-SYSTEM.html>.
  11. "Panama Criminal Justice - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System." Photius Coutsoukis; Photius; Photios; Fotis Koutsoukis - Sustained by Working Capital in the World. Web. 08 Nov. 2010. <http://www.photius.com/countries/panama/national_security/panama_national_security_criminal_justice.html>.
  12. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html>.
  13. "Panama Real Estate | Panama's Low Crime Rate and Real Estate Investment." Panama Real Estate | Panama Property Listings | Panama Investments. Web. 04 Oct. 2010. <http://www.abpanama.com/panama-real-estate/crime-panama.php>.>
  14. "Culture of Panama - Traditional, History, People, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family, Social, Dress, Marriage, Men, Life, Immigrants, Population, Rituals, History and Ethnic Relations." Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <http://www.everyculture.com/No-Sa/Panama.html#ixzz11P34hTry>.
  15. "Judicial System - Panama." Encyclopedia of the Nations - Information about Countries of the World, United Nations, and World Leaders. Web. 04 Oct. 2010. <http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Panama-JUDICIAL-SYSTEM.html>.
  16. "Suggested Recommendations to States Considered in the Ninth round of the Universal Periodic Review,November 2010 | Amnesty International." Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/IOR41/023/2010/en>. Website
  17. "Suggested Recommendations to States Considered in the Ninth round of the Universal Periodic Review, November 2010 | Amnesty International." Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/IOR41/023/2010/en>.