Criminal Process in Panama


Panama´s Criminal Process Code was adopted in Law 63 of August 28th, 2008. The purpose of the penal process is to investigate crimes and prosecute participants. In a criminal process the following parties are typically involved:

  • The Public Ministry
  • The plaintiff
  • The victim or injured party
  • The accused
  • The defense lawyers
  • Other advisers

Panama criminal process: filing an accusation

Accusations in the penal process can be verbal or written. If a written complaint is used, it must be signed by the complainant, or by another capable person.

Alternately, verbal accusations are recorded in the form of a statement. This statement is signed by the complainant or by another person at their request. The investigating officer also signs the statement.

Next, the compliant is presented in-person or through a special representative. In Panama, accusations can be submitted at the following locations:

  • National Police
  • Judicial Investigation Department
  • Complaints Reception Center

Panama criminal process: development steps

One of the first steps in the penal process is the police or prosecutorial investigation. In this stage, a competent officer conducts an investigation. This investigation determines the existence of the crime, the perpetrator, and any other circumstances needed for the evaluation of the crime. At the end, the officer produces an investigation summary of all findings.

The next step in the criminal process is the intermediate phase. During this phase, a competent court reviews and qualifies the investigation summary.

Afterwards, a plenary session takes place. In this session, the arguments of accusation and defense, based on the evidence, are presented. Here, the plaintiff has the opportunity to reinforce proofs against the defendant. Likewise, the defense lawyer can disqualify arguments and prove the accused’s innocence.

The plenary session is the most important part of the criminal process, because the accused is brought to trial, and the court must judge and dictate a sentence.

Contact us

The experienced law team at Kraemer & Kraemer can assist you in criminal processes in areas such as corporate fraud, financial crimes, or crimes against the state. Contact us at to discuss your case.

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