The Supreme Court Probity Unit Relaunch
Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes
Friday October 20, 9:00 AM Supreme Court
This morning we celebrate a real breakthrough for El Salvador, with the relaunch of the Probity Unit of the Supreme Court of Justice. This is not just a legislative priority, it is also an important step towards regaining the confidence of Salvadoran citizens in their own government.
Illicit enrichment is one of the symptoms of corruption that exists in El Salvador and also in many other nations. The cost of global corruption is estimated at $1 billion, and 67 out of 144 countries surveyed by the Global Economic Forum have identified corruption as one of the three main challenges to economic growth.
Corruption is a problem which we must constantly fight against, because it easily becomes a pandemic for every country that does not combat it with sufficient urgency. This fight is not the responsibility of a single entity, everyone has a role to play, because justice is done in collaboration – the police, the prosecution, the courts, and other institutions that aim to serve the interests of its citizens.
Corruption undermines the foundations of government, paralyzes all branches and affects the most vulnerable. In El Salvador we see it when children do not have access to an adequate education infrastructure. We see it when patients do not have sufficient access to medicines. We see it in cases of impunity and when politicians put their interests ahead of serving the people. Transparency and accountability is essential to regain the confidence of citizens, and for El Salvador to succeed as a country, the government needs the confidence of its citizens.
As public officials, we have to respond to a higher standard. And, we agree to comply with that standard the moment we accept our public office. Respecting and reaffirming that trust is part of our responsibility as public officials, and our actions should reflect this. Every day is an opportunity to earn the trust of our citizens.
Relaunching the Probity Section with the powers to fulfill its constitutional mandate to investigate illicit enrichment is one of the concrete steps that El Salvador is taking in the fight against corruption. This has been in response to the demands on the part of the Salvadorans to know the work of the probity section, demanding more transparency and greater access to information. Now the Probity Section is a key piece in the fight against corruption through its investigations of illicit enrichment. But we know that corruption is omnipresent, it exists in all countries and all branches of society, and in order to combat it, it must be approached from different fronts. And success in combating it depends on every link in this chain fulfills its functions. In the case of the Supreme Court of Justice, it is crucial that judges continue to show their determination to contribute to transparency, access to information and the fight against corruption, so that there are no setbacks.
I am convinced that the majority of Salvadorans in the public and private spheres understand that combating corruption and impunity is essential in order to move towards a more prosperous and safer country with stronger institutions that are pillars of the democratic system. Contributing to the improvement of this Unit is another way for the United States Government to join El Salvador in the fight against corruption, and we will continue working with the government and civil society to help guarantee the security and prosperity that we all want for El Salvador.
*** This translation is provided as a courtesy. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative. ***