• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Oscar Arias’s Crucitas case dismissed; prosecutor plans appeal

February 22, 2019

The Criminal Court of the Treasury announced Thursday night that it has dismissed charges against former Costa Rican president Óscar Arias for his involvement in approving the construction of the Crucitas gold mine.

A judge declared that the statute of limitations for bringing Arias to trial has passed.

Roberto Dobles — who served as Environment Minister under Arias’s administration — and six other officials will be tried in court, Semanario Universidad reported.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office said Friday afternoon that it will appeal the dismissal of the charges against Arias. It argued that there are factors that should have extended the statute of limitations for an additional six years from 2017.

If the appeal fails, the case will remain closed and Arias will not be brought to trial.

“The defense is pleased with this decision, though it regrets that the Public Ministry has spent time and resources to reopen a penal cause that had expired and where clearly there is no crime,” Arias’s lawyer, Rodolfo Brenes, told reporters following Thursday’s ruling.

Chief Prosecutor Emilia Navas had presented criminal charges against Arias in August 2018 for breach of duty, reopening a probe into whether the then-president failed to uphold his responsibilities by signing a 2008 decree allowing Canadian company Infinito Gold to construct an open-pit gold mine in Costa Rica’s northern region.

Arias’s decree deemed the mine “in the public interest” despite a 2002 court ruling that had established a moratorium on open pit mining. Costa Rican courts in 2010 voided Infinito Gold’s authorization due to environmental concerns.

Since then, the region has been harmed by illegal gold miners eager to cash in on the area’s massive quantities of the precious metal.

Arias in February has been accused of sexual assault by several women, two of whom have filed criminal complaints against the politician. Arias has “categorically” denied allegations of sexual assault, saying he has “never acted in a way that disrespected the will of any woman.”

Katherine Stanley, Managing Editor of The Tico Times, worked in the Office of the President during Oscar Arias’ second presidency and provided English-language speechwriting services for Arias. She has recused herself from all reporting and editorial decisions for any story involving Arias, including this one.


This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.

Support the Tico Times

You may be interested

Costa Rican diet contains too much salt, Health Ministry says
Health
4747 views
Health
4747 views

Costa Rican diet contains too much salt, Health Ministry says

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 9, 2021

The average Costa Rican adult consumes twice the recommended value of salt each day, according to the Health Ministry. Ticos ingest…

Costa Rica creates commission to address gender unemployment gap
Costa Rica
2552 views
Costa Rica
2552 views

Costa Rica creates commission to address gender unemployment gap

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 9, 2021

In context of International Women's Day, Costa Rican leaders on Monday signed a decree to create a commission to address…

Vaccinated people don’t have to self-isolate after Covid contact
Costa Rica
16423 views
Costa Rica
16423 views

Vaccinated people don’t have to self-isolate after Covid contact

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 8, 2021

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 won’t have to isolate if they are a close contact to someone who…