The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our third post in a series here focusing on the ten countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.” Today's country is Costa Rica.
Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Costa Rica since 2008. In 2019, Costa Rica demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the judicial authorities failed to regularly implement and comply with the provision of the Convention. The Department previously cited Costa Rica in the 2011 – 2016 Annual Reports but did not cite Costa Rica in the 2018 or 2019 reports.
Significant Developments: As of December 3, 2019, the Office of Children's Issues was unaware of any children abducted from the United States to Costa Rica returning to the United States pursuant to a judicial order. Judicial delays persist in abduction cases in Costa Rica.
Central Authority: The United States and the Costa Rican Central Authority have a strong and productive relationship.
Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. On average, it took less than one week to locate a child. As of December 31, 2019, there were no open cases where the Costa Rican authorities remain unable to initially locate a child.
Judicial Authorities: Delays by the Costa Rican judicial authorities affected cases during 2019. The Department is not aware of any cases where a child was returned to the United States pursuant to a court order under the Convention in the eleven-year history of the United States' partnership with Costa Rica under the Convention.
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 Costa Rican authorities.
Access: In 2019, the U.S. Central Authority acted on a total of two open access cases under the Convention in Costa Rica. Of these, two cases were opened in 2018. Both cases were filed with the Costa Rican Central Authority in 2018. By December 31, 2019, both cases (100 percent) had been resolved. No access cases have been pending with the Costa Rican authorities for more than 12 months.
Department Recommendations: The Department and the Costa Rican Central Authority will continue the processing and resolution of cases under the Convention. The Department will continue working with the Costa Rican authorities to raise awareness of and compliance with the Convention in Costa Rica.