Press Release


Ninth Meeting of Justice Ministers of the Americas in Quito to Discuss Regional Developments in Access to Justice and Legal Cooperation

  November 21, 2012

Regional progress in improving access to justice and legal cooperation will be the central themes of the Ninth Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA IX), to be held November 28 and 29 in Quito, Ecuador.

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Worship of Ecuador, Johana Benitez Pesántez Farina, will participate in the inauguration of the meeting, on the morning of Wednesday, November 28. The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has been invited to participate in the inauguration.

The event is organized by the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS. The REMJA process is the mechanism of hemispheric cooperation on justice and international legal cooperation that takes place in the framework of the OAS, and involves the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas with responsibility for these matters.

"REMJA has become the most important political and technical forum in the hemisphere to address issues of justice and legal cooperation," said the Secretary General of the OAS during the recent signing of the agreement between the hemispheric organization and the government of Ecuador for the REMJA IX meeting. He added that, at the meeting in Quito "we expect to make progress in these two great themes of REMJA: justice and legal cooperation." Insulza added that the meeting will open "a dialogue on how the application of law in the region has evolved in both criminal and private law," and seek to "delve into issues of access to justice and alternative mechanisms for dispute resolution."

The meeting will also discuss the progress made in relation to the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition and its additional component of secure videoconferencing. The heads of delegations of the Member Countries of the OAS will discuss the results of the training program to strengthen legal cooperation against cybercrime, and also analyze the situation of prison policies in the region.

Another issue to be discussed at the ministerial meeting will be the Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators, which began in 2007 and today is being implemented by the OAS in six countries of the region: Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Honduras.

The main objective of the REMJA is to consolidate the rule of law in the region by strengthening the mechanisms for access to justice and international legal cooperation through the exchange of information and experience, coordination of public policies and the creation of institutions and processes of effective cooperation.

The REMJA process has become the foremost hemispheric policy and technical forum for issues related to the strengthening of and access to justice and international legal cooperation in areas related to mutual assistance in criminal matters; extradition; penitentiary and prison policies; cybercrime; and forensic sciences, among others.

The first REMJA meeting took place in Buenos Aires in December 1997, and among the conclusions of the first meeting, participants agreed on the importance and usefulness of holding regular meetings. This was recognized and requested immediately after by the Heads of State and Government at the Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile (1998), a recognition that has been reiterated in subsequent summits.

The other REMJA meetings were held in Lima in 1999 (REMJA II); in San Jose in 2000 (REMJA III); in Port of Spain in 2002 (REMJA IV); at the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC in 2004 (REMJA V); in Santo Domingo in 2006 (REMJA VI); again in Washington, DC in 2008 (REMJA VII);, and in Brasilia in 2010 (REMJA VIII).

The XI REMJA sessions will be held in headquarters of Swisôtel in Quito, Ecuador, located at the intersection of the streets 12 de Octubre and Luis Cordero.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-418/12