Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Anti-Terrorism Law Finally on the Books

March 6, 2009

President Oscar Arias signed into law much-needed counter-terrorism and witness protection legislation Wednesday afternoon.

The Witness and Victim Protection Law provides for the creation of an Office for Attention to Crime Victims, through which witnesses and victims will be able to receive psychological support, home surveillance, relocation, a new job or private police escort, as the threat to the parties merits.

The Anti-Terrorism Law defines terrorism as a crime and allows authorities to prosecute for aiding and abetting terrorism, including financing terrorist groups, with penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

The law brings Costa Rica into compliance with its obligations under United Nations conventions, the regional information network Gafic, and notably The Egmont Group, an organization of 108 member countries that share intelligence on money laundering and terrorism. That group threatened to expel Costa Rica last year if an anti-terrorism bill weren’t passed, but later granted the country an extension through this month.

Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese, however, in his remarks before the signing, said these two laws were necessary first steps, but that a third measure, the bill against organized crime, will have to be passed into law before the country can effectively prosecute criminal groups in Costa Rica.

The much-touted organized crime bill was remanded to committee review in late January after the Legislative Assembly’s legal review board found numerous, substantive problems with the text.

“This (anti-terrorism) law provides the legal basis to prosecute, but without the law against organized crime in place, the (anti-terrorism) law is a dead letter,” said Dall’Anese. “This is the first step, nothing more.”

This is the first time Costa Rica has had a counter-terrorism law on the books. The lack of such a law ultimately stymied attempts to investigate alleged ties between Costa Ricans and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) last year. (TT, April 25, 2008).

Drug Institute Director Mauricio Boraschi last year put the onus on the Legislative Assembly, which by that time had had nine years to pass an anti-terrorism law.

–Holly Sonneland

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 21
Costa Rica
5441 views
Costa Rica
5441 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 21

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 21, 2020

Costa Rica announced 59 new coronavirus-related deaths since Friday for a total of 745, according to official data released Monday…

President of Legislative Assembly doesn’t see viability of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal
Costa Rica
809 views
Costa Rica
809 views

President of Legislative Assembly doesn’t see viability of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 21, 2020

The president of Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly expressed his displeasure with the Presidency's fiscal measures that are intended to help…

Costa Rica to participate in UN General Assembly this week
Climate Change
1169 views
Climate Change
1169 views

Costa Rica to participate in UN General Assembly this week

The Tico Times - September 21, 2020

President Carlos Alvarado will participate this week in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Costa Rican…