Ginebra.- The UN Committee against Torture deplored the lack of progress in the research and identification of missing persons during the military dictatorship in Panama (1968-1989), and asked the State to investigate all outstanding cases and judge the perpetrators.
The experts published on Friday the conclusions of the review made on 3 and 4 August of the fourth periodic report of Panama on the prevention of torture.
They emphasize that "the State must take appropriate actions to ensure that effective and impartial investigations are carried out in all cases pending of alleged enforced disappearances, prosecuted and, where appropriate, punished and compensated the relatives of the victims".
The criminalization of the crime of torture in the Penal Code is incomplete. According to the UN Committee, the country has not explicitly included acts of torture committed by third parties at the instigation of a public official or with his consent or acquiescence.
They are concerned that Panama maintains on its criminal legislation the statute of limitations for torture and asks that it be repealed and that "necessary measures be taken to resume investigations into acts of torture that have been suspended to the statute of limitation."
The UN Committee further urges the State to ensure that all allegations of torture or ill-treatment are promptly and impartially investigated by an independent mechanism and that the suspects are properly prosecuted.
In Panama, between 1995 and 2016, four convictions were issued for acts of torture, one of which is in the process of appeal, but there was also a temporary dismissal of six ex officio investigations.
Experts are also concerned that the Penal Code only allows universal jurisdiction over acts of torture when it is committed in a widespread and systematic manner, and calls on Panama to change this policy.
The agency's concerns also include the conditions of detention in Panama, as the prison administration would not pay sufficient attention to persons with disabilities and women deprived of their liberty, in addition to a "racial disproportion in prisons and worse treatment of Afro-descendant prisoners. "
A special mention deserves for experts the controversial Isla Coco prison for poor detention conditions, remote location and inadequate medical care for inmates, which has led the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to issue measures Precautionary measures in favor of all prisoners.
It is also seriously concerned about the problem of violence and the entry and smuggling of firearms in prisons in the country.
A total of 11 of the 127 deaths registered since 2013 in Panamanian prisons since 2013 were caused by such weapons, according to data provided by the Government to the UN.