The U.S. State Department has just issued its 2017 Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction under the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA). The following is the Country Summary and related information from the tenth country listed as “Noncompliant” in the report, Panama:
Country Summary: The United States and Panama have been partners under the Hague Abduction Convention since 1994. In 2016, Panama demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the judicial authorities in Panama persistently failed to implement and abide by the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention. As a result of this failure, 100 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention have remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases have been unresolved for 45 months.
Central Authority: While the relationship with the Panamanian Central Authority is strong and productive, the United States is concerned that Panama is unable to resolve cases in a timely manner, and urges the Panamanian authorities to take appropriate steps to address this situation.
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Panamanian authorities.
Judicial Authorities: The Panamanian judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention due to serious delays in deciding Convention cases. Panamanian judges frequently requested psychological and socio-economic evaluations, which impeded prompt resolutions in Convention cases. Cases are generally pending with the judiciary for more than two years.
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Panamanian authorities.
Access: In 2016, there were no open access cases.
Department Recommendations: The Department will intensify engagement with the Panamanian authorities to address significant issues of concern and expand public diplomacy activities related to the resolution of cases. The Department will also promote training with judicial and administrative authorities on the effective handling of international parental child abduction cases. The Department also recommends an emphasis on preventing abductions.