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Within the Framework of the Fourth Round, the Committee of Experts of the MESICIC, during its Twenty - First Meeting, held from March 18 to 22, 2013, adopted the report on Argentina by consensus, following a careful examination of the information provided by that country, as well as that gathered during an on-site visit carried out from October 16 to 18, 2012, by a review subgroup composed of Guatemala and Suriname, with the support of the General Secretariat of the OAS. At that on-site visit, meetings were held with Argentinean authorities as well as with representatives of civil society organizations, professional associations, academics and researchers. The following aspects of the report should be highlighted:
First, recommendations were formulated to Argentina for its consideration, with respect to the oversight bodies selected by Argentina to be examined in the Fourth Round, as follows:
Prosecutor for Administrative Investigations (FIA): specifying its functions; strengthening interinstitutional coordination; adapting its organizational structure to take into account the specialties of the prosecutors; appointing senior posts that are vacant; establishing the Bicameral Congressional Committee to which it has to report on its work; and preparing statistics on the investigations the FIA conducts, in order to identify challenges and recommend corrective measures.
Judicial Branch of the Nation (PJN): examining the possibility of comprehensively transitioning the federal criminal justice system to an adversarial one; establishing the new National Criminal Cassation Chamber for ordinary jurisdiction, which would relieve the workload of the current Federal Criminal Cassation Chamber, which hears corruption cases; expediting the appointment of federal judge positions using the selection procedure provided for in the National Constitution; strengthening the mechanisms so that federal judges can have more support personnel in complex cases involving the investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption; analyzing the reasons for the slow pace of proceedings in such cases; and compiling statistics on the amount of the assets covered by an injunction and/or recovered for the State by the federal courts, pursuant to Article 23 of the Criminal Code, in order to identify challenges and recommend corrective measures.
Office of the Auditor General (AGN): enacting the law regulating its organizational structure and functions contemplated in Article 85 of the National Constitution; strengthening interinstitutional coordination; granting the AGN more active participation in judicial proceedings dealing with cases in which the State's financial interests are harmed in jurisdictions and agencies subject to its competence and strengthening the mechanisms for making the perpetrators answerable for their actions; guaranteeing the AGN expeditious and timely access to the information it needs to perform its functions
Inspector General of the Nation (SIGEN): boosting its functions vis-à-vis state-owned enterprises and those in which the State has an equity share, so that it can secure information regarding their social responsibility; increasing functional coordination with other bodies in relation to actions designed to recover economic harm caused to the State and the compilation of statistics thereon; and to access to certain reports on its website.
Anticorruption Office (OA): strengthening interinstitutional coordination; ensuring that it has the human resources it needs, in line with increases in the volume of activities entrusted to it; and encouraging the continuity of the Plan for Strengthening the Sworn Statements Regime adopted by the OA, which provides for a review of the regulations and procedures related to that regime.
Second, as a result of the follow-up to the recommendations formulated to Argentina in the First Round, the Committee made a determination as to those which still have to be considered, including, among others, those aimed at the following purposes: strengthening the implementation of legal provisions and codes of conduct for preventing conflicts of interest; strengthening provisions and mechanisms for proper conservation and use of public resources; using the financial disclosure reports in the legislative and judicial branches and in the Office of the Attorney General for counseling public officials on how to avoid conflicts of interest, as well as to detect cases of illicit enrichment; establishing legal provisions supporting access to government information; and developing procedures for assessing the effectiveness of the systems and mechanisms for preventing and detecting corruption that were reviewed in the First Round.
The report also summarizes the progress made in the implementation of those recommendations, including, the OA’s distance training courses for government officials conducted through the Public Ethics Training System on public ethics-related topics; dissemination by the OA of corruption prevention policies through publications containing guidelines on key related aspects, such as prevention of conflicts of interest, public officials’ sworn statements, citizen participation, and government procurement; and the promotion of civil society participation by oversight bodies through their Internet websites and, in some cases, through social media such as “Facebook”, “YouTube” and “Linkedin.”
In addition to the foregoing, the report highlights the best practices with respect to which Argentina provided information, which in summary, refer to an “Office of Coordination and Follow-Up for Crimes against the Public Administration,” established within the prosecutorial arm of the Attorney General’s Office to collaborate with the public prosecutors working on corruption cases and which was absorbed by the Office of the Prosecutor for Economic Crimes and Money Laundering, which was created by Resolution PGN 914/12; to the “Judicial Information Center (CIJ)/ Open Government,” which is a Supreme Court initiative to encourage citizen participation in the administration of justice via the Internet and to promote transparency; to an “Integrated Interinstitutional Communication Program” of the AGN, designed to publicize its work and make it more accessible to citizens; to a “Federal Public Oversight Network,” instituted via the SIGEN, to form part of and complement national, provincial, and municipal State Inspection and Audit Units, with a view to assessing the performance of social programs; and to a “System of Comprehensive Sworn Statements of Net Worth of Public Officials” of the OA, which deals with transparency, accountability, the prevention of conflicts of interest and incompatibilities, and the detection of illicit enrichment.
During this Twenty - First Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago. The Argentina report adopted by the Committee, as well as the aforementioned countries, are available at: http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/mesicic4_rep.htm
121 - March 2013
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