El Salvador’s justice system has been the focus of attention of various state modernization efforts since the 1992 signing of the Peace Accords. However, there are still crucial problems related to technical shortcomings in the investigation and prosecution of various criminal offenses. Furthermore, “the delays in processing cases, vulnerability to corruption, meddling by political groups, and the prevalence of policies aimed at hardening sentences” erode public credibility in the justice sector.
This first report of the Central America Monitor produced by the University Institute of Public Opinion (IUDOP) of the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA) of El Salvador aims to define a baseline for the indicators related to analyzing the capacity and independence of the Salvadoran criminal justice system and the main institutions that compose it.
In this report, analysis of the justice system centers on the main institutions involved in the criminal justice process: the Public Defender’s Office (PGR), the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), the judicial branch—in particular, the Supreme Court—and the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IML). This document presents empirical evidence, drawn from official data, of the material and budget-related differences between El Salvador’s various criminal justice bodies, with the aim of providing a guide for future efforts that seek to impact the criminal justice system and benefit the citizenry. The following tables summarize the functions of each of these entities, as well as the scope of information being produced in the framework of this report.