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Ministers of Justice of the Americas Adopt Concrete Measures to Strengthen Legal and Judicial Cooperation in the Region

The highest authorities of the American States with responsibilities in the area of international legal cooperation, in particular criminal matters, have adopted in Brazil a series of concrete measures to strengthen legal and judicial cooperation in the Americas and to deal effectively with the various challenges in this area.

The Eighth Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA VIII), which took place in the city of Brasilia from February 24 to 26, 2010, constituted once again as the most important inter-American forum for countries of the hemisphere to discuss and adopt practical measures relating to justice and to legal and judicial cooperation. Specifically, the meeting addressed issues such as mutual assistance in criminal matters and extradition, cyber-crime, trafficking in persons and other forms of organized transnational crime, victim and witness protection and assistance, penitentiary and prison policies, forensic research, and family and child law.

As a result of these discussions, the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Member States of the OAS agreed, among other decisions, to continue to consolidate effective and expeditious hemispheric cooperation in criminal matters through the promotion and implementation of the most important Inter-American instruments in areas critical to such cooperation and to begin development of new international agreements supplementary to the existing ones in order to facilitate the use of new information and communication technologies in relation to mutual assistance, extradition and joint investigations. They also agreed to continue supporting and promoting comprehensive training programs that, under OAS hospices, are being offered in countries of the region, primarily in relation to cyber-crime and the use of the electronic tools offered by the OAS through the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition (the Criminal Matters Network).

The OAS General Secretariat not only reported on the concrete results achieved since the initiation of this process of ministerial meetings in 1997, such as creation of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA), the adoption of a Hemispheric Plan of Action against Transnational Organized Crime and establishment of the Criminal Matters Network, but also presented to the participants the secure videoconferencing system which forms the newest and most innovative component of the network

REMJA VIII concluded successfully with the approval of the Conclusions and Recommendations from the meeting and statements by the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, and the Minister of Justice of Brazil, Dr. Luiz Paulo Teles Ferreira Barreto, who both stressed the importance and significance of meetings of this kind, and thanked the Republic of El Salvador for its offer to host REMJA IX, to be held in 2012.

REMJA VIII also provided the setting for the OAS General Secretariat and the Ibero-American Association of Attorneys General (AIAMP) to sign a cooperation agreement to strengthen their relations and initiate joint activities.

For further information on the REMJA process, visit:


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