BARRANQUILLA -- The government of Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a $500 million loan agreement on Wednesday for the digitization of the judicial system of the Andean country.
The presidents of Colombia and the IDB, Iván Duque and Mauricio Claver-Carone respectively, signed the agreement during the IDB meeting taking place in the Colombian city of Barranquilla.
The loan means Colombia will pioneer the digitization of the judicial system in Latin America, a process that will begin in July and is expected to take 12 years.
During the event, Duque touched upon the benefits of the process, the objective of which is to make the system more efficient.
Transparency, traceability and real-time access provided by digitization would help facilitate all proceedings in the country's high courts, he said.
"It allows systematizing all jurisprudential precedents for the consultation of those who administer justice and allows structural savings in terms of reducing releases within the administrative function of the judicial branch," the Colombian representative added.
Claver-Carone reaffirmed the importance of this project saying it "seeks to increase effectiveness, efficiency and transparency in the judicial system" and this leads to "improving the quality of life of Colombians."
Ninety-five percent of the loan will be earmarked for the judicial branch and be executed by the Higher Council of the Judiciary, while the remaining 5 percent will go to executive entities performing jurisprudence and have the Ministry of Justice as executor.
Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz stressed that the judicial system must focus on a digital transition to make service to citizens more efficient, adding that 15 billion pesos (over $4.2 million) are spent annually on guardianship (protection appeal) proceedings.
"A digital justice system is going to be the greatest thing that can happen to us in the country," Ruiz added.
Comptroller General Carlos Felipe Córdoba explained that "the problem of justice is a structural issue: judges need tools, citizens need greater access and we need greater administration of resources."