CHAPTER VII. PUBLIC MINISTRY
An autonomous, hierarchical body, named Public Ministry, will exclusively direct the investigation of facts that constitute a crime; those that determine the punishable participation and those that prove the innocence of the accused and, when appropriate, will exercise the public penal action in the manner provided by the law. Likewise, it will adopt measures to protect victims and witnesses. In no event it shall exercise jurisdictional functions.
The victim of a crime and other persons established by the law may also exercise the penal action.
The Public Ministry may issue direct orders to the Forces of Order and Security during the investigation. However, the actions that deprives the accused or third parties of the exercise of the rights that this Constitution guarantees, or that restrict or perturb them, will require a prior judicial approval. The requested authority shall comply without further delay these orders and cannot qualify their grounds, opportunity, justice or legality, except in the case of requiring the exhibition of the prior judicial authorization, when it corresponds.
The exercise of the public penal action, and the direction of the investigations of the events that constitute a crime, that determine the punishable participation and that prove the innocence of the accused in the cases that are known by military courts, as well as the adoption of measures to protect victims and witnesses of those events, will correspond, in accordance with the rules of the Code of Military Justice and the respective laws, to the bodies and persons that that Code and those laws establish.
A constitutional organic law will set forth the organization and powers of the Public Ministry, will determine the qualifications and requirements that prosecutors must have and comply with in order to be appointed and the grounds for dismissal of the adjunct prosecutors, regarding what is not contemplated in the Constitution. The persons that are designated as prosecutors shall not have any impediment that disables them from holding the office of judge. Regional and adjunct prosecutors will cease in their position once they reach 75 years of age.
The constitutional organic law will establish the degree of independence and autonomy and the responsibility that prosecutors will have in the direction of the investigation and in the exercise of the public penal action, in the cases in which they are in charge.
The National Prosecutor shall be appointed by the President of the Republic, from a five-candidate list proposed by the Supreme Court and with the agreement of two-thirds of the members in office of the Senate, in a session specially convened for that purpose. If the Senate does not approve the proposal of the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court will have to complete the five-candidate list by proposing a new person to replace the rejected, repeating the process until an appointment is approved.
The National Prosecutor must have held the degree of lawyer for at least ten years, must have become forty years of age and possess the other qualifications which are necessary to be a citizen with the right to vote; he will last eight years in the exercise of his functions and may not be designated for the following period.
What is established in the second paragraph of article 80 with regard to age limit is applicable to the National Prosecutor.
There will be a Regional Prosecutor in each of the regions in which the country is administratively divided, unless the population or geographical extension of the region makes it necessary for more than one to be appointed.
Regional prosecutors shall be appointed by the National Prosecutor, from a three-candidate list proposed by the Court of Appeals of the respective region. Should the region have more than one Court of Appeals, the three-candidate list will be formed by a joint plenum of all of them, specially convened for this reason by the President of the oldest created Court.
Regional prosecutors must have held the degree of lawyer for at least five years, must have become thirty years of age and posses the other qualifications which are necessary to be a citizen with the right to vote; they will last eight years in the exercise of their functions and may not be designated as regional prosecutors for the following period, which does not prevent them from being appointed in another position of the Public Ministry.
The Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals, in such case, will call for a public contest of antecedents for the integration of both five-candidate and three-candidate’s lists, which will be agreed upon by the absolute majority of their active members, in a plenum specially convened for that purpose. Both five-candidates and three-candidate’s lists cannot be integrated by active or pensioned members of the Judiciary.
The five- and three-candidate lists will be formed in a single vote in which each member of the plenum will have the right to vote for the three or two people, respectively. The ones obtaining the five or three first majorities, correspondingly, will be elected. If there is a tie, it will be resolved by drawing lots.
There will be adjunct prosecutors who will be designated by the National Prosecutor, from a three-candidate list proposed by the respective regional prosecutor, which shall be formed following a public contest, in accordance with the constitutional organic law. They must hold the lawyer degree and must possess the other qualifications which are necessary to be a citizen with the right to vote.
The National Prosecutor and regional prosecutors may only be removed by the Supreme Court, at the request of the President of the Republic, the House of Representative, or of ten of its members, for ineligibility, misconduct or gross negligence in the performance of their functions. The Court will hear the case in plenum specially convened for this purpose and, for there to be agreement on the removal, there must be a confirming vote of the majority of its active members.
The removal of regional prosecutors may also be requested by the National Prosecutor.
What is established in article 81 will be applicable to the National Prosecutor, the regional prosecutors and the adjunct prosecutors.
The National Prosecutor shall hold the directive, correctional and economic supervision of the Public Ministry, in accordance with the respective constitutional organic law.