The Office of Legal Cooperation of the Department of International Legal Affairs of the OAS is pleased to present  the first edition of the OAS Legal Cooperation Newsletter. This newsletter will keep you informed of  Hemispheric activities related to mutual assistance in criminal matters, extradition, cyber-crime and other developments related to the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorney Generals of the Americas (REMJA).

In this issue:

(1) Central Authorities from the Hemisphere Meet in Colombia

(2) Improvements to the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition

(3) OAS Regional Cyber-Crime Workshop Held in Barbados

(4) Specialized Regional Training on International Cooperation Related to Terrorism Cases and Criminal Matters

(5) Fifth Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber-Crime

(6) Cyber-Crime Website Improvements


 

Central Authorities from the Hemisphere Meet in Colombia

Central Authorities from member states of the OAS met September 12 - 14 in Bogotá, Colombia, to further cooperation in the region in areas such as extradition and strengthening mutual assistance in criminal matters.

The Third Meeting of Central Authorities and Other Experts on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition, held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of the OAS in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), also covered the recent progress of the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition, which aims to increase and improve the exchange of information among OAS member states.

Highlights from the meeting:

  • Final review of the proposed Guide to Best Practices in Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and the proposed Model Legislation on Mutual Assistance. 

  • Election of Colombia and Canada as Coordinator and Vice-Coordinator States of the OAS/REMJA Working Group on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters and Extradition for the period of October 2007 – September 2008.  Mexico and El Salvador were elected to occupy those positions from October 2008 – September 2009.

  • Round table discussions in which  representatives of OAS member states and observer countries discussed topics such as model legislation on the backing of warrants, the importance of international cooperation in fighting transnational organized crime, and international cooperation between central authorities on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition and law enforcement or police authorities.

  • Updates on the recent progress of the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition, the work of IberRed, and United Nations tools for written requests for mutual assistance in criminal matters.

The recommendations adopted at the meeting will be sent to the REMJA-VII for consideration. The Fourth Meeting of Central Authorities will be held in El Salvador in 2009.


Improvements to the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition

The OAS website for mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition has been updated and enhanced.  The improved website reflects the 3-part structure of the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition: a public component, a private component and a secure electronic communication system.  

Highlights of the major changes:

Public Component

  • New layout and introductory text

  • Links to Inter-American conventions related to legal and juridical cooperation

  • Links to the REMJA site

  • Links to meetings of central authorities

 

Private Component

  • Updated layout and introductory text

  • Link to public component

  • Updated directory of central authority contacts

  • Updated “Meetings” section

Secure Electronic Communication System:

  • Continued service for 23 countries

  • Extension of the service to additional countries, financed in part by a contribution from Spain

Check out the latest changes here.


OAS Regional Cyber-Crime Workshop held in Barbados

The OAS held the third of a three-part series of regional cyber-crime workshops in Bridgetown, Barbados from September 11-13. The workshop focused on computer investigations and forensics, and particularly on the preservation and handling of electronic evidence. 

This workshop, which was directed at law enforcement and prosecutorial officials of the Caribbean, was attended by officials from 13 member states.

The workshop was funded and largely organized by the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice.

In addition to presentations by US Department of Justice prosecutors and forensic examiner, the workshop also included presentations by the G-8 on its 24/7 High Tech Crime Network, as well as presentations by senior FBI agents and Secret Service officials on various issues, including the identification of cyber-crime offenders and the creation of basic cyber-forensic investigations units.

The workshop was held under the aegis of the Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber-Crime, a working group of the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General (REMJA).


Specialized Regional Training on International Cooperation Related to Terrorism Cases and Criminal Matters

The Government of Peru will be hosting a specialized regional training workshop on international cooperation related to terrorism and criminal matters October 16-19 in Lima.  The workshop, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in conjunction with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), will allow participants to exchange experiences and best practices related to extradition and mutual assistance.  The workshop will also discuss the Palermo Convention, regional and international legal frameworks related to terrorism, and the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition.


Fifth Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber-Crime

The Fifth Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber-Crime will take place November 19 and 20, 2007 at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC. For more information click here.  


Cyber-Crime Website Improvements

There have been various recent additions to the OAS’ restricted access cyber-crime website, including the inclusion of national points of contact for cyber-crime related issues in the OAS member states; a compilation of the OAS member states’ existing cyber-crime legislation; cyber-crime training and reference guides; and links of interest relating to regional and international development in this field.

Individuals with responsibilities for the prosecution and/or investigation of cyber-crime offenses in their country who wish to gain access the OAS’ restricted access cyber-crime website should direct an email message to mthomas@oas.org.

OAS

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Office of Legal Cooperation
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