NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR SCIENCE AND JUSTICE

First meeting: “Environment, Science and Justice

CONICET researchers, environment experts and representatives of the judicial field participated in the meeting.


First meeting: “Environment, Science and Justice

The First Meeting “Environment, Science and Justice” was held at the Cultural Center of Science (C3) and was organized by the National Program for Science and Justice of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) with the Federal Board of Courts and Superior Courts of Justice of the Argentine Provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (Ju.Fe.Jus.), the Board of Federal Oral Courts of the Argentine Republic (JUTOF), the Network of Judicial Training Schools (Reflejar) and the Council of Attorneys, Prosecutors, Defenders and General Advisers of the Argentine Republic.

The aim of the conference was to present and discuss with prosecutors, judges, defenders and justice operators the technical capacities and services that CONICET has to contribute to the clarification of environmental legal cases. Likewise, the complexities and challenges of scientific and judicial advances were addressed at different plenary tables.

The opening was attended by the president of the Council, Ana Franchi, the manager of Legal Affairs of CONICET and Technical Representative of the National Program for Science and Justice, Alan Temiño, the president of the Judicial Training Institute of the Argentine provinces and CABA (Reflejar/Jufejus), Claudia Mizawak and the Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Province of Santa Fe, Jorge Barraguirre.

The president of the Council assured that one of the objectives of the Program is to help strengthen Justice from scientific contributions. “It is a job that the Program has been carrying out for many years, which has promoted, among other actions, cooperation and technical assistance to various judicial spheres, for which we have identified that sometimes it is difficult for us to find common languages, so this meeting allows us to address justice from the academy, to science and technology (S&T)”. She also highlighted the federal call for the meeting with the participation of specialists from various provinces. “Federalization is a pending issue that we have to reach all the provinces of the country with equality. CyT is developed by almost 85% in the central region. It is very difficult to integrate researchers and also to interact with society in the most remote provinces”.

To end her speech, Franchi highlighted the work of the Program and of the different research groups and judicial representatives that have already provided technical assistance, “S&T must always be at the service of society, so that people have a much better quality of life.”. Being able to interact with the judicial powers and with the various scientific areas will strengthen joint learning to continue helping society.”

For his part, Alan Temiño spoke of the fundamental axes of the Program, highlighting the collaboration in complex judicial expertise, training and assistance in the certification of laboratories. “In 2021, with the Advisory Council and the working group of the Program, we decided to think about an agenda from science towards the Justice service, and from the general need of the country, finding a very broad topic such as: the environment. We decided on the environment because we considered it a federal matter and, beyond the training sessions, there is a need: to listen to each other. I invite you to have a broad dialogue on this demand at this meeting that allows us to open the space for a next meeting for a construction job”. And he concluded, “With the contributions from the Program we are aiming at the objective of deepening federalism but also identifying the needs and difficulties of the justice system from scientific training and that the researcher also has the opportunity to leave the laboratory and interact with judicial bodies for a better joint understanding”.

Topics of interest and challenges in the field of Environment, Science and Justice

On the first day of the meeting, a general plenary panel was held in which the investigation and justice work was presented: “Indicators for the fulfillment of legal orders in the Mendoza Cause” an agreement between CONICET and the Cuenca Matanza Authority Riachuelo (ACUMAR) with technical assistance from the Buenos Aires Environmental Studies Network that is part of the Council’s Problem-Oriented Institutional Networks (RIOSP).

At the same time, round tables were held (aimed at specific groups in Justice). In each space the different contributions that can be made from Science were presented. The topics of interest that were addressed from these tables were: quality in analysis laboratories, clear language in justice and its application, bioindicators, perspective of justice and science on future generations, active judges and prosecutors and environmental expertise, among other major topics.

The Member of the Advisory Council of the National Program for Science and Justice,
Luciano Merini, spoke about the road map of the meeting from each of the themes and its purpose to a common objective, “This meeting aims to somehow refound the deepest articulation with the Justice institutions and to be able to make a proposal to the measure, work in a mutual dialogue and try to somehow build a common language that allows us to interact in the most fluid way, understand and be able to provide a service, especially at this time when Justice is advancing firmly on environmental issues , which is something that clearly responds to a demand and need of society. So it is the opportunity for CONICET to present the various support activities that it is carrying out”.

The second day was used to present the conclusions, needs, actions and upcoming challenges in the field of Environment, Science and Justice that arose from the work groups between them: strengthen the accreditations of international standards to enhance quality, increase articulation with other organizations and authorities to work together, have training and interdisciplinary consultancies such as the one currently provided by CONICET and that are permanent, financing and accompaniment at the federal level, integration and social construction, training in the environment and environmental damage, establish a clear language and common, among others

Within this framework, Merini assured that one of the challenges of this articulation is to have a common language: “A bridge that helps us maintain the technical capacity and the minimum technical expression that each of the parties needs, because not only the scientific language has its complexities, legal language also has them. Both institutions promote clear language policies, beyond interaction”. And he added: “Based on this common language, we will be able to advance on these issues that we identify as central such as carrying out environmental expertise, addressing complex cases of environmental crimes, diversity, environmental conflict and being able to address it at a multidisciplinary level from CONICET and finally strengthening the technical capacities and the quality of the expert laboratories”.

Judicial authorities, public and private universities, judges, prosecutors, legislators, forensic experts, and provincial and national officials participated in the meeting. CONICET researchers and specialists from the judicial system spoke.

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