Client: Ministry of Justice Industry: Governance Solution: Sistema de Apoyo a los Fiscales (SAF)
The Criminal Procedure Reform is one of the most ambitious modernization projects within the Chilean justice system over the last few decades. This reform has always preferred an intensive use of information technology to support the work of public judicial institutions, such as the Judiciary and the Attorney General.
SONDA has implemented a District Attorney’s Support System (SAF in Spanish), which enables a greater number of criminal cases to be managed with agility and transparency, and which efficiently handles large volumes of information and collaborative work between the teams involved.
Technology that serves modern Justice
Over the last few decades, the Chilean State began an extensive process to modernize the judicial system to the principles of the rule of law. It endorsed international standards, adapting them to the social, economic, political and cultural status of current Chilean society.
In 2000 the Attorney General invited tenders to develop their IT systems, so these reforms could be implemented. A subsidiary of SONDA, Orden, was awarded the project, to develop software to manage criminal cases for District Attorney’s.
Therefore, a team of experts from our company – composed of lawyers, developers and analysts – conducted a thorough study of this organizational and procedural law reform before it became effective on December 16, 2000.
The SAF solution: a collaborative tool
The District Attorney’s Support System (SAF) controls the processing and management of criminal cases under the new legal framework established by the Criminal Procedure Reform. It provides on-line information at a national level, regarding any background information, procedure, or event that concerns the Attorney General.
SAF is more than software, it is a world class collaborative tool, with national coverage, which supports the management of cases in the 104 District Attorney’s offices that operate in Chile today.
Like the Criminal Procedure Reform, this IT system was implemented gradually across the thirteen regions in Chile. It is being evaluated for potential implementation in other countries.
Pablo Alvarez is the National Executive Director at the Attorney General’s Office and he reported that: “The greater efficiency, transparency and perception of the Attorney General’s Office as a modern institution is undeniable. It would be impossible to think of Criminal Procedure Reform and District Attorney’s without technology, because considering the volume of cases and information they handle, the responses would be very low”.
Speed and efficiency
Another important element is the benefits that this system has brought to institutional processes, since “the Chief District Attorney has daily access to all cases, giving instructions regarding additional investigation, expertise and other tasks to his team, who are then responsible for processing and managing these, transforming the SAF into a collaborative tool that fosters teamwork”, remarked Mr. Alvarez.
“Speed is one of the main benefits, because investigations can begin 48 hours earlier, which can be very close to the date on which the crime was committed. Under the old process, the police registered crimes during a weekend and sent details to the courts on paper, but it took Monday and Tuesday to type them up, so that only on Wednesday could these cases be assigned”.
It is definitely an efficient and transparent solution for the Chilean judicial system, improving the management of an important public institution and achieving a huge step forward in the modernization of the State.
“The greater efficiency, transparency and perception of the Attorney General’s Office as a modern institution is undeniable. It would be impossible to think of Criminal Procedure Reform and District Attorney’s without technology, because considering the volume of cases and information they handle, the responses would be very low”.
Pablo Alvarez, National Executive Director at the Attorney General’s Office