Final report of the fourth meeting of ministers of justice or of ministers or attorneys general of the americas



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5. Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas

The ministers of foreign affairs and heads of delegation gathered at the twenty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly, after considering the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas and the conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Second Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas, held in Lima, Peru, in March 1999 (CP/doc. 3186/99), decided in resolution AG/RES. 1615 (XXIX-O/99) to convene the Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas.


The Permanent Council, in resolution CP/RES. 766 (1222/00), adopted the following agenda for REMJA-III:

CPSC00235E05





  1. Election of the chair

  2. Election of the vice chairs

  3. Adoption of the draft agenda and draft schedule

  4. Follow-up on the conclusions and recommendations of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas:




  1. Justice Studies Center of the Americas

  2. Cybercrime

  3. Extradition, forfeiture of assets, and mutual legal assistance




  1. Report of the Board of Directors of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas pursuant to the second transitory provision of the Statutes of the Center




  1. Headquarters of the Center




  1. Prison and penitentiary policy:

- All aspects of health in prisons

(Health care, communicable diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, drug use, etc.)




  1. Access to justice:

- Alternative conflict resolution

- Other mechanisms




  1. Conclusions and recommendations

The deliberations of REMJA-III resulted in the conclusions and recommendations given below.

Conclusions and Recommendations
At the close of discussion on the various agenda items, the Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas, convened in the OAS framework through resolution AG/RES. 1615 (XXIX-O/99), approved the following conclusions and recommendations, to be presented, through the Permanent Council of the OAS, to the General Assembly at its thirtieth regular session.
1. Cyber-crime
REMJA-III, mindful of the recommendations made by the Group of Government Experts on Cyber-crime that met at OAS headquarters in May and October, 1999, urges member states of the OAS to:


  • Identify one or more agencies within their country that will have primary authority and responsibility to investigate and prosecute cyber-crime;




  • Take steps to enact legislation covering cyber-crime, if they have not already done so;




  • Make every effort to harmonize their laws on cyber-crime in such a way as to facilitate international cooperation in preventing and combating these illicit activities;




  • Determine their training needs in the area of cyber-crime and explore bilateral, regional, and multilateral cooperation mechanisms to meet those needs;




  • Consider the possibility of becoming members of the 24-Hour/7-Day a Week Point of Contact Group, or participating in other existing mechanisms for cooperation or the exchange of information in order to initiate or receive information;




  • Take steps to heighten awareness of this issue among the general public, including users in the education system, the legal system, and the justice system regarding the need to prevent and combat cyber-crime;




  • Consider various measures, including setting up a Voluntary Specific Fund, to support efforts to expand cooperation on this matter in the Hemisphere;




  • Promote, in the framework of the OAS, the exchange of information on cyber-crime and dissemination of information regarding activities in this field, including the OAS Web page on the subject;




  • Monitor compliance with the recommendations of the Group of Government Experts in the framework of the OAS, taking into account the need to prepare guidelines to orient national efforts in the field of cyber-crime through, for instance, the development of model legislation or other pertinent legal instruments and training programs.

2. Extradition and mutual legal cooperation


REMJA-III welcomes the progress achieved in complying with the recommendations made at REMJA-II, especially with regard to the presentation of information on points of contact, checklists of requirements for extradition, standard forms for requesting mutual legal assistance, and glossaries of legal terms.
In this connection, it:


  • Urges member states of the OAS that have not already done so to present the information requested as soon as possible in order to permit a comprehensive assessment of the situation in the Hemisphere with regard to this topic;




  • Invites the OAS to disseminate that information through its Web page;




  • Encourages member states of the OAS to provide, in addition to the information already presented, material on the way extradition requests are handled by their respective executive and judicial branches;




  • Emphasizes the need to promote heightened awareness among members of the legislative and judicial branches regarding their responsibility in respect of extradition procedures;




  • Resolves to strengthen cooperation and mutual confidence in this field by establishing an information network composed of competent authorities and mandated to prepare specific recommendations in the area of extradition and mutual legal assistance for consideration by said authorities prior to the plenary session of REMJA-IV. That network, representing the different legal systems in the Hemisphere, should rely as far as possible on electronic communications media, especially the Internet;




  • Exhorts member states of the OAS that have not already done so to consider the possibility of ratifying or acceding to inter-American conventions on juridical and judicial cooperation.

3. Prison and penitentiary policy: all aspects of health in prisons


Bearing in mind the importance of all aspects of health in prisons, REMJA-III:


  • Invites member states of the OAS to seek ways to reduce overcrowding in prisons, making use, inter alia, of alternatives to imprisonment;




  • Urges governments to share experiences acquired in their prison systems with respect to all aspects of the health of the present or former prison population in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, STDs, addictions and prison violence;




  • Invites member states of the OAS to foster the development of cooperation projects for providing training for personnel in this area, with the support of international and national, government or nongovernmental organizations;




  • Requests member states of the OAS to monitor, with the help of experts in this field, the subject of all aspects of health in prisons, with a view to identifying common problems and promoting cooperation and exchanges of information and experience;




  • Invites member states of the OAS with the relevant experience to share information regarding the participation of private enterprises in the construction and/or running of penitentiaries, with a view to exploring new options for improving prison systems.



  1. Access to justice: alternative conflict resolution and other mechanisms



With a view to improving justice administration systems, REMJA-III:


  • Reiterates its commitment to improve access to justice for the inhabitants of member states of the OAS through the promotion and use of alternative conflict resolution methods, such as recourse to flexible and expeditious judicial and extrajudicial channels contributing to democratic development;




  • Urges member states of the OAS with experience in this field to offer their cooperation in developing and fostering these alternative mechanisms;




  • Recommends that, as part of the legal cooperation activities being carried out by the General Secretariat of the OAS, an effort be made to foster the development and execution of cooperation programs designed to encourage recourse to alternative conflict resolution methods, in coordination with agencies active in this field in the countries of the Americas;




  • Urges member states of the OAS to promote, in accordance with their respective legislation, the incorporation into educational programs of material encouraging the use of dialogue, negotiation, mediation, and other suitable approaches to dealing with conflicts that are designed to strengthen peaceful coexistence and further a culture of peace and human rights;




  • Resolves to follow-up on the topic of alternative conflict resolution in the framework of the OAS, in order to continue fostering the sharing of experience and cooperation among member states of the OAS.



  1. Justice Studies Center for the Americas

REMJA-III:




  • Welcomes the establishment of the Justice Studies Center for the Americas; the adoption of its Statutes; and the installation of its Board of Directors by the General Assembly of the OAS, pursuant to the mandates of the Second Summit of the Americas;




  • Takes note of the recommendations contained in the Report of the First Meeting of the Board of Directors, held in Washington, D. C. on February 24 and 25, 2000;




  • Resolves that the site for the Justice Studies Center for the Americas will be in Santiago, Chile, as provided for in the powers assigned to the REMJA under the Statutes of the Center and bearing in mind the recommendation made by the Board of Directors. REMJA-III thanks the governments of Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay for their offers to provide a site for the Center and invites them to contribute their experience and technical skills in supporting the work entrusted to the Center;




  • Urges the member states and permanent observers of the OAS to contribute voluntary funds to finance the activity of the Center, in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Statutes of the Justice Studies Center for the Americas;




  • Encourages the Board of Directors to proceed with the preparation of the rules of procedures; with the signature of a Site Agreement with the Government of Chile; with the preparation of a draft work plan for the Center; and with the appointment of its Executive Director;




  • Requests the General Assembly of the OAS to proceed to approve the appointment of the person chosen by the Board of Directors as Executive Director of the Center, pursuant to Article 6 of the Statutes of the Center in order to ensure that it can start functioning as soon as possible;




  • Invites the Board of Directors duly to take into account the conclusions and recommendations of REMJA-III when devising its work plan and in the activities carried out by the Center, as provided for in Article 12 of its Statutes.



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