On Thursday, February 21, Nancy Pettit, the Ambassador of the USA to Latvia, had an introductory visit to Jānis Bordāns, the Minister of Justice.
When talking about his priorities in the area of justice, J.Bordāns admitted that, upon assessing the opinion provided by the Ambassador on the International Anti-Corruption Day regarding the rule of law, the reform programme in the area of justice would serve a reply to concerns showed by the Ambassador regarding strengthening the rule of law in Latvia.
J.Bordāns emphasized that assessments of various international organizations and experts have already been performed in the judicial system and proposal and recommendations were made to Latvia. A comprehensive assessment of court proceedings and final conclusions regarding reforms to be implemented in the future is currently required. They should have specific and measurable results. Besides, it is necessary also to strengthen mutual trust between the investigation, prosecutor’s office and court authorities, in order it would be possible to implement quick and effective proceeding for adjudication of cases. The specialized courts are also being on the agenda of the minister. At the same time transparency of the judicial system should be provided and availability of court judgments should be improved.
The Minister of Justice admitted: “The big, significant and important cases should be determined as a priority in the judicial system, in order to more strictly combat the corruptive and money laundering schemes, where criminally acquired financial means appear. Currently it is necessary to assess the situation and gather information about resources by performing necessary pre-works in order to reach the first visible results within a year.”
The minister emphasized to the Ambassador of the USA that positive changes in the modernisation and technical equipment of the judicial work have been performed as a result of measures implemented by the Ministry of Justice, in particular in the area of implementation of information technologies. Currently it is necessary to strengthen the leading role of the Office of the Prosecutor General during organization of the pre-trial proceedings - at the police and prosecutor’s office authorities.
Both parties shared the same opinion that one of the pre-conditions for economical growth in Latvia is regulated, transparent and effective judicial power.
During the discussion there were also other important topics discussed, including the issues of resettlement of former prisoners, the issues of property restitution and preparation of qualified employees of law enforcement authorities by the higher educational institution.