In the context of the health alert issued by the Ministry of Health and the subsequent declaration of a state of Constitutional Exception of Catastrophe in Chile, due to public calamity, a series of measures have been set in place, altering the regular operation of Criminal Courts, as well as for the Chilean Prosecutor's Office and Police Forces.
Operations of the Courts
The Supreme Court has issued instructions ("Autoacordado") N ° 41-2020 and 42-2020, dated March 13th and 16th, 2020, respectively, which allow Court officials to exercise their functions through telework, and adopted other measures to facilitate remote work such as:
- Upcoming hearings are being rescheduled or suspended, when they are not urgent, or can be postponed (approx. postponing timing: three to six months).
- Hearings of an urgent and non-delayable nature have been understood to be those related to persons held in preventive imprisonment, detention control, for the "bring of charges", determination and review of precautionary and protective measures, trials, sentence reading, and other related to the way in which sentences are served and substituted.
- In order to appear in the hearing mentioned above, measures have been taken to allow the defendants, prosecutors, public and private defense attorneys, as well as complainants and victims, to participate by video conference.
- On some occasions, complainants have been allowed to file their allegations in writing, prior to the hearing.
Operations of the Prosecutor's Office
As a result of the health emergency, an Extraordinary Council of Prosecutors was held to adopt agreements seeking to protect Prosecutors and Officials of the Public Prosecutor's Office, as well as the general public.
Due to the aforementioned, the following measures have been taken:
- The Prosecutor's Offices will be closed to the public, except in cases of extreme urgency. The use of remote service systems, such as the call center and the web platform called "SIAU", has been encouraged.
- Denounces will be received by e-mail. A special system was made available, as well as a form and e-mail addresses for that purpose.
- Interviews and statements before Prosecutors have been suspended, rescheduled, or have been conducted by telephone.
- Working shifts have been organized, minimizing the number of people working in the offices, and at the same time, teleworking has been encouraged.
Operation of the Police Forces
The Police Forces ("Carabineros de Chile" and "Policía de Investigaciones"), have also taken measures to reduce the risk of contagion, such as carrying out statements procedures, by telephone or e-mail.