The La­tin Ame­ri­can Ob­ser­va­to­ry for Re­se­arch on Cri­me Po­li­cy and Cri­mi­nal Law Re­form (OLAP)

Ob­ser­va­to­rio La­ti­no­ame­ri­ca­no pa­ra la in­ves­ti­ga­ción en Políti­ca Cri­mi­nal
 y en las re­for­mas en el De­re­cho Penal – (OLAP)

The La­tin Ame­ri­can Ob­ser­va­to­ry for Re­se­arch on Cri­me Po­li­cy and Cri­mi­nal Law Re­form (OLAP) was es­ta­blis­hed in clo­se co­ope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Re­pu­blic, Mon­te­vi­deo (UdelaR) and the Max Planck In­sti­tu­te. OLAP fo­cu­ses on in­ter­dis­ci­pli­na­ry and so­cio-le­gal stu­dies on cri­me po­li­cies and cri­mi­nal law re­form in South Ame­ri­ca. Its pri­ma­ry ob­jec­ti­ve is the en­han­ce­ment of the ef­fec­ti­ven­ess of cri­mi­nal ju­sti­ce sys­tems. The Ob­ser­va­to­ry im­ple­ments so­cio-le­gal re­se­arch, which pro­vi­des for a ba­sis of both the ma­king of cost ef­fec­ti­ve cri­mi­nal ju­sti­ce po­li­cies and the de­ve­lop­ment of po­li­cies re­spec­ting hu­man rights as well as the prin­cip­les of de­mo­cra­cy, the ru­le of law and tho­se va­lues which are sha­red by the Mer­cos­ur and South Ame­ri­ca at lar­ge.

OLAP al­so con­tri­bu­tes to the buil­ding of cri­mi­no­lo­gi­cal re­se­arch ca­pa­ci­ty and aims at the de­ve­lop­ment of trai­ning and edu­ca­ti­on in the field of cri­mi­no­lo­gy and cri­mi­nal ju­sti­ce re­se­arch. Fur­ther­mo­re, OLAP es­ta­blis­hes links with re­gio­nal and in­ter­na­tio­nal re­se­arch in­sti­tu­tes de­aling with cri­mi­nal law re­form and works to­wards strengt­he­ning the in­ter­na­tio­nal net­work of re­se­arch on cri­mi­nal law re­form and si­tua­ting La­tin Ame­ri­ca as a key ac­tor in the field of in­ter­na­tio­nal cri­me po­li­cy.

La­tin Ame­ri­ca is fa­ced with si­gni­fi­cant pro­blems re­la­ted to cri­me con­trol and cri­mi­nal law re­form. Ma­ny of the­se pro­blems are in­ter­na­tio­nal in na­ture and not a cha­rac­te­ri­stic on­ly of the South Ame­ri­can re­gi­on. New forms of cri­me such as or­ga­ni­zed cri­me, in­ter­na­tio­nal ter­ro­rism, drug traf­ficking, cor­rup­ti­on, mo­ney laun­de­ring, en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­me and va­rious forms of eco­no­mic cri­me ha­ve af­fec­ted La­tin Ame­ri­ca just as they are af­fec­ting other world re­gi­ons. So­me pro­blems, ho­we­ver, are par­ti­cu­lar­ly pro­noun­ced in La­tin Ame­ri­ca. Among the­se pro­blems vio­lence stands out, which has plagued so­me South Ame­ri­can coun­tries for de­ca­des. Guer­ril­la war­fa­re and re­pres­si­ve and au­t­ho­ri­ta­ri­an re­gi­mes in the past ha­ve crea­ted a cli­ma­te whe­re im­pu­ni­ty pre­vai­led and whe­re the ju­di­ci­al power was si­de-li­ned. Per­va­si­ve use of pre-tri­al de­ten­ti­on and im­pri­son­ment has re­sul­ted in se­rious pro­blems of over­crow­ding and ad­ver­se con­di­ti­ons in pri­son and de­ten­ti­on fa­ci­li­ties. Drug traf­ficking has ta­ken its toll on va­rious coun­tries in La­tin Ame­ri­ca and con­ti­nues to do so. The he­ri­ta­ge of co­lo­nia­lism has found its ex­pres­si­on in par­ti­cu­lar pro­blems of ac­com­mo­da­ting in­di­ge­nous and mi­no­ri­ty po­pu­la­ti­ons wi­thin the fra­me­work of cri­mi­nal law and cri­mi­nal ju­sti­ce.

Ef­fec­ti­ve cri­me po­li­cies and su­stai­na­ble cri­mi­nal law re­form ha­ve to be ba­sed on em­pi­ri­cal evi­dence. Im­ple­men­ta­ti­on of cri­mi­nal law re­form has to be stu­died care­ful­ly and eva­lua­ti­on has to be car­ried out in or­der to know not on­ly whe­ther po­li­cies ha­ve be­en suc­cess­ful or not but al­so in or­der to know why suc­cess has be­en achie­ved or why re­forms ha­ve fai­led. Evi­dence-ba­sed cri­me po­li­cies thus ne­ces­si­ta­te sys­te­ma­tic and su­stai­ned so­cio-le­gal re­se­arch and ana­ly­sis. Pur­suit of an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­na­ry ap­proach fol­lows the con­cept of the “Ge­sam­te Straf­rechts­wis­sen­schaft” (Com­pre­hen­si­ve Cri­mi­nal Law Sciences). This ap­proach en­com­pas­ses cri­mi­nal law doc­tri­ne, cri­mi­nal po­li­cy and cri­mi­no­lo­gy; it co­vers the fields of sub­stan­ti­ve and pro­ce­du­ral cri­mi­nal law, en­for­ce­ment of sen­tences and cor­rec­tio­nal law.