Prosecutorial Reform Index

Funded by: ABA Rule of Law Initiative Country: Belize Date Range: 2011 Project Lead: The Law School

In 2011, Notre Dame Law School faculty conducted an assessment of the prosecutorial system in Belize. Criminal Law professor Jimmy Gurulé, who previously served as undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Department of Treasury and as assistant attorney general and assistant U.S. attorney at the Department of Justice, led an assessment team to develop the Belize Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI) with funding from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). The assessors reviewed all Belizean legislation relating to the prosecutorial function and interviewed more than 27 prosecutors, investigators, police, attorneys, judges, government officials, journalists and representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations. ABA ROLI then asked domestic and international partners to review and comment on the findings before it issued a final report.

The PRI addressed a wide range of issues, including professional freedoms and guarantees; education, training, and admission to the legal profession and to the prosecutor's office; relationships between members of the criminal justice system and the media; budgetary resources; ethics and conflict-of-interest standards; and professional associations of prosecutors. The index grades a country’s relevant legislation and practice as positive, neutral or negative. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative released the Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI) for Belize in July 2011. Among other things, the index identifies the challenges that undermine criminal prosecution’s effectiveness in combating crime; the seriousness of corruption in the country; and the state of morale and professionalism among Belizean prosecutors.