Media Center

Press Release


  March 29, 2006

The invaluable contributions of the Inter-American Juridical Committee can strengthen democratic institutions in the region and help consolidate governance, the Chairman of the Organization of American States (OAS) Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Guatemala’s Ambassador Francisco Villagrán, said today.
Addressing a special session of the Permanent Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the Committee, Villagrán said that “its well-recognized experience, which we are celebrating today, provides a great opportunity for the Juridical Committee to continue its fruitful and constructive efforts.” Given the complex relationship between the evolution of international law and political mandates, the Inter-American Juridical Committee must be increasingly engaged in monitoring priority agenda issues of the OAS and other international organizations such as the United Nations , Villagrán said.
For his part, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza referred to some of the Committee’s signal achievements, including its contribution to private international law and to the American Convention on Human Rights, as well as to inter-American treaties against corruption and against discrimination. The Secretary General also noted its input in the adoption of domestic laws to help member states honor their international commitments, such as model laws on transnational bribery and unlawful enrichment, which are needed to combat corruption.
Insulza underscored the value of studies conducted by the Juridical Committee in recent years on justice, terrorism, democracy and hemispheric security. He also touched on issues on the Committee’s current agenda, such as the right to information and laws on racism, discrimination and tolerance. “We firmly believe that transparency in government activities, probity and government responsibility with regard to public service are fundamental elements of governance and democracy,” said Insulza, adding that “promoting the ‘knowledge society’ is a challenge and opportunity that helps us tackle the hemisphere’s social, economic and political agenda.”
The Inter-American Juridical Committee’s Chairman, Mauricio Herdocia of Nicaragua, stressed that the principle of solidarity among the states of the hemisphere legally underpins the essential mission to promote and consolidate representative democracy and, through joint action, to promote social and economic development. “One of the latest studies by the Committee concerns legal aspects of the interdependence of democracy and economic and social development, two key concerns of the inter-American system” said Herdocia.

Among others to address the session to commemorate the centenary were Antonio Cachapuz de Madeiros, a consultant to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, and Joel Hernández García, consultant to Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretariat. OAS member state representatives also offered their views and hailed the Juridical Committee’s milestone.
Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Inter-American Juridical Committee serves the OAS as an advisory body on juridical matters of an international nature and promotes the progressive development and the codification of international law, at the request of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, or any of the organization’s councils. It can also conduct studies at its own initiative.

Reference: E-075/06