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April 2018

Chair of the Inter-American Juridical Committee gives a presentation to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs

Chair of the Inter-American Juridical Committee gives a presentation to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs

On Thursday, April 5, Dr. Hernán Salinas Burgos, Chair of the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI), presented to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs the CJI’s 2017 annual report, highlighting the adoption of reports addressing OAS General Assembly mandates, one on “Conscious and Effective Regulation of Business in the Area of Human Rights”, and the other on “Cultural Heritage Assets.”

In the first report, the Committee compiled best practices, legislation, and case law in this area and proposed options for advances in the area of conscious and effective regulation of business. As for the protection of cultural assets, the Committee proposed the consolidation of national legislation, called for the ratification of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and 1976 OAS Convention, and invited the member states to put in place cooperation mechanisms to facilitate their implementation, based on an analysis of the available regional and universal instruments.

The Chair further explained that in the period covered by this report, the Committee had issued an opinion on the “immunity of States” and “statelessness”, and approved two new matters for consideration: “Validity of foreign judicial decisions in light of the Inter-American Convention on extraterritorial validity of foreign judgments and arbitral awards” and “binding and non-binding agreements.”

The Chair reiterated the Committee’s commitment in working on the development of juridical matters of international interest, and expressed appreciation for the impetus given by the General Assembly to the matters adopted by the Committee.

In the area of the promotion of international law, Dr. Salinas explained that the traditional Course of International Law, held in August 2017, had had 42 students, 15 of whom had been recipients of scholarships funded by the Organization. He further noted the meetings held by the Committee with representatives of the African Union Commission on International Law, the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Latin American Society of International Law, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the Ibero-American Data Protection Network.

Dr. Salinas then called for participation by the delegations in a joint working meeting of the CJI and legal consultants of the ministries of foreign affairs. These meetings facilitate dialogue on matters of importance to the region and the member states in the field of international law. He expressed interest in attendance by representatives of the Caribbean and Central America countries, despite the budgetary constraints, since the Committee was unable to fund attendance by the guests.

The Chair closed his presentation by thanking the Government of Mexico for holding the 92nd regular session in March of this year, where progress had been made with the agenda items.

The delegations in attendance expressed gratitude to the Chair for his report and recognized the quality of the Committee’s work and studies, especially underscoring the practical nature, contingency and importance of the matters addressed. Delegations offered views regarding the follow-up of specific issues completed by or currently before the Committee. Views were also expressed regarding member state commitment to keep to the annual budget of the Committee.

With regard to activities under way, support was expressed for the Course on International Law. Delegations also welcomed the joint meeting to be held with legal consultants of ministries of foreign affairs, or equivalent, based on the success of the meeting held in 2016. Delegations also recognized the work of staff members the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, acting as the Technical Secretariat of the Committee.

In closing the meeting, the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Hugo Cayrús, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the OAS, expressed appreciation for the contribution of the members who had completed their terms in December 2017, Dr. Elizabeth Villalta, of El Salvador, and Dr. Miguel Aníbal Pichardo, and welcomed the new members of the Committee. He also underscored the reports adopted on “regulation of business in the area of human rights” and on “cultural heritage assets,” and commended the decision “to retain on the CJI’s agenda such relevant matters as immunity of international organizations, representative democracy, and application of the principle of conventionality.” 

For further information on this matter, please contact the Department of International Law of the OAS – Technical Secretariat of the Inter-American Juridical Committee +1 202 370 0743. 

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