UN group also questioned Dominican justice actors
Santo Domingo.- The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions has criticized both the Public Ministry and the Judiciary of the Dominican Republic in the case involving the former Attorney General, Jean Alain Rodríguez. The Working Group’s “Opinion No. 46/2023” highlighted concerns about the impartiality of the judges and the procedures followed in the case.
The report specifically mentioned that both the judge who ruled on the precautionary measure against Rodríguez and the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal of the National District failed to address violations of the accused’s rights. The Working Group concluded that the judicial authority overseeing Rodríguez’s detention did not demonstrate independence and impartiality, particularly in their refusal to adequately consider allegations related to his arbitrary detention and his right to be heard impartially.
The criticism stems from the manner in which Rodríguez was treated during court proceedings. He was reportedly interrupted abruptly and systematically by the Prosecutor’s Office during his attempt to exercise his right to be heard. The same pattern was observed during the measure’s review in the Court of Appeal.
The case against Rodríguez, accused of corruption and other crimes in the Medusa case, has been led by Yeni Berenice Reynoso and Wilson Camacho, senior officials in the Public Ministry and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for the Prosecution of Administrative Corruption (Pepca).
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions stated that these procedural issues could only be rectified by declaring the proceedings null and void and repeating the process. Their “opinions” are considered quasi-judicial and, while not legally binding, are reasoned like legal decisions and are influential in the UN’s human rights system.
The Dominican Government missed the initial deadline to respond to the former attorney general’s complaints before the UN group, submitting their challenge a month late.
Wilson Camacho, head of Pepca, defended the legal proceedings against Rodríguez, stating that the imprisonment and subsequent house arrest were results of legal judicial processes. He noted that Rodríguez has not yet defended himself against the accusations.