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Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas Opens in Brazil in Search of a True “Inter-American Rule of Law”

  February 25, 2010

Brasilia- The VIII Meeting of Ministers of Justice or other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA VIII) officially opened today with the participation of the highest authorities on international legal cooperation, especially on criminal matters, of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS).

During the inaugural session of the three-day meeting, the Secretary of Legal Affairs of the OAS, Jean Michel Arrighi, gave a welcome speech on behalf of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza in which he noted that this was the first meeting to officially bring together attorney generals from Latin American countries with responsibilities in international legal cooperation. “We are certain that the joint participation of these authorities will benefit the strengthening of REMJA and the processes of cooperation being developed in this sphere,” he declared.

Referring to the fight against transnational organized crime, one of the central themes of the meeting, the OAS representative insisted on the need for countries in the region to work together to minimize their vulnerability to this scourge and overcome challenges and difficulties in this area. He added that “there is no place outside the OAS for negotiation, for the adoption and promotion of this our common right in the Americas,” and that therefore the Organization is committed to “continue to promote efforts and activities that may contribute to achieve a true inter-American rule of law.”

“Crime affects citizens directly and, when it spreads and goes unpunished, undermines the legitimacy of our democracies,” continued the OAS Secretary of Legal Affairs, who concluded by stressing that “the concrete and practical measures adopted to make us more effective against crime contribute to the defense and consolidation of democracy in the Americas.”

For his part, the Minister of Justice of Brazil, Luiz Paulo Teles Ferreira Barreiro, shared some of his country’s success stories in the subject of the fight against organized crime, the recovery of illegal assets, addressing corruption, money laundering and asset forfeiture. He also proposed that such positive experiences be replicated in other countries.

The minister of the host country proposed that REMJA VIII be the launching pad for negotiations toward a convention of mutual assistance on criminal matters to be applied to every type of crime. “I believe this is the moment to make progress on this global aspect, by negotiating a judicial convention of broad cooperation on criminal and civil matters,” he stated.

The Brazilian official concluded his speech by reiterating his country’s commitment to the subject of gender, especially with respect to the eradication of violence against women, and the full, timely and universal access of women to justice as an essential element of an effective legal system. “I think that this subject is worthy of special attention given the dramatic situation of many women in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially on questions related to violence,” he said.

The VIII Meeting of Ministers of Justice or other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas taking place February 24 to 26 is considered the most important political and technical forum in areas related to the strengthening of and access to justice and international legal and judicial cooperation.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-050/10