The Dominican Republic’s Public Ministry has been plunged into scandal yet again for violating international standards of human rights as well as Dominican law. This week, a leak coming from the ministry named prosecutor Francisco José Polanco Ureña as the subject of an embezzlement investigation, plastering his image and the news across the Dominican press with unsubstantiated allegations.

Trying uncorroborated cases in the court of public opinion is a common Public Ministry tactic and is a symptom of the country’s broken justice system. By leaking this investigation, the Public Ministry once again violated basic due process rights under Article 290 of the criminal code of the Dominican Republic as well as multiple international human rights agreements.

The scandal reached new farcical heights when the Public Ministry issued a statement on Monday to “reiterate its commitment to compliance with procedural guarantees and rights afforded to those under investigation” and claimed it “will investigate the leak”.

It is the same Public Ministry that was condemned last November by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) for practicing arbitrary arrest in violation of Articles 3, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 2, 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Human Rights. The U.N. body singled out prosecutor Yeni Berenice as the “protagonist” of a “public discredit campaign” that she “orchestrated” from the Public Ministry.

It is also the same Public Ministry accused of intimidating a judge supervising an investigation, and subjecting her to “persecution” and a “public discredit campaign” and also called out at a February 28 hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC).  The IAHRC reviewed evidence of “constant human rights violations” including 70% of the country’s prisoners being detained by the Public Ministry under preventive detention orders without due process under “inhuman” conditions.

Evidence of violation of international obligations by the Public Ministry on judicial independence and impartiality has been referred to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The evidence continues to mount that the Public Ministry is actively violating human rights on a daily basis. After routinely intimidating, smearing and arbitrarily arresting people, holding them for months or years without charges, systematically interrupting their right to a defense and parading them as guilty before the media in violation of their human rights, the Public Ministry has thoroughly discredited itself as an institution. It cannot be trusted to investigate its own human rights violations.

International human rights monitors must step up their own investigations in order to bring cases before the appropriate international tribunals. The U.S. State Department must end its silence on this escalating scandal and come out firmly against the human rights violations perpetrated by the Public Ministry and other institutions in the Dominican Republic’s justice system. The Dominican government must be pressured by the international community to cooperate with international bodies, and the perpetrators must be held accountable.