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September 30, 1998

Organized crime and transborder crime actively threaten democratic institutions and peace among the peoples of the Americas, Peru's Minister of Justice, Alfredo Quispe Correa, said today.

The Peruvian minister made the statement while addressing a special sitting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS). He spoke before the Council of the hemisphere's ambassadors about international cooperation to enhance justice systems, after meeting with Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria.

"Today, as never before, we face great challenges and a need for efficient, modern and responsible judicial institutions that can quickly address existing demands to effectively combat common scourges that have been increasingly plaguing our societies," the minister stated.

In his presentation, Mr. Quispe Correa commended the OAS for taking serious initiatives in judicial cooperation and exchange of experiences in what he described as an important area related to the rule of law and consolidation of democratic institutions.

"Over the past 12 months," the minister declared, "we have been pleased to learn how the foundations for joint action within the inter-American system were being laid by those responsible for the justice systems in each of our countries. It is a process that is certain to have a positive effect on our societies." He added that significant progress had been made since the first Meeting of Ministers of Justice was held in Argentina last year.

Mr. Quispe Correa also made reference to the second Meeting of Ministers of Justice to be held in Lima, Peru, in March next year, and announced that his country would be proposing that the meeting come up with concrete measures to establish a center for the study of justice in the Americas, which would be based in Uruguay.

During the special Council meeting that was chaired by Uruguay's permanent representative, Antonio Mercader, the ambassadors of Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, United States and Uruguay thanked the Peruvian minister for his presentation, and expressed support for the next justice ministers' meeting that Peru is to host.

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