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Expeditious handling of criminal cases better in recent years

Tratamentu Di Kaso Penal Mas Rapido Den Ultimo Ananan 1

The Law Enforcement Council (the Council), in its report “Inspection lead time: the steering, prioritization and monitoring of simple and complex criminal cases in Sint Maarten,” found that the relevant judicial organizations, being the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM), the National Detectives Agency and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM), are generally equipped to expeditiously handle criminal cases in favor of a reasonable time period. This is despite indirect and external bottlenecks.

Lead time of criminal cases
The obligation to expeditiously handle cases in favor of a reasonable period of time applies internationally and is implemented in local laws and regulations. The reasonable time period is a maximum of two years. That an investigation should be expeditiously handled is one of the circumstances that the judge takes into account when determining whether the reasonable time period has been exceeded. The credibility and legitimacy of investigation and prosecution are therefore served by efficient handling of investigations. The expeditious handling of cases by judicial organizations is also in the interest of both victims and suspects.

On the basis of the figures provided, the interviews conducted and the number of sentence reductions in the period under investigation, the Council concludes that the expeditious handling of criminal cases has improved in recent years. The organizations that were examined succeed in this by focusing on prioritizing, steering and monitoring cases in favor of, among other things, lead times. This is despite the lack of general preconditions such as capacity, expertise and resources at the investigation services. This affects the lead time, especially in more complex cases.

The Council was unable to gain insight into whether or not the lead time of and between the organizations and the entire criminal justice chain is expeditious. It is therefore necessary to align the registration and the systems used, which is not yet the case.

Recommendations
The Council sees opportunities in particular where it regardsthe preconditions for carrying out the work and the registration and systems used. Therefore, the Council hopes that the seven recommendations can contribute to a further improvement of the lead time of criminal cases. If the investigation and prosecution can be done more quickly, the Council believes this should be done for the benefit of both suspects and victims.

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