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OAS Secretary General Highlighted the Role of the Inter-American Juridical Committee as "a Pioneer of the Standards that Guarantee Peace between Our Countries"

  March 5, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, participated today in the inauguration of the 80th Regular Session of the Inter American Juridical Committee (IAJC) in Mexico, where he highlighted the importance of continental law and affirmed that since its origins, the Committee "built a unique and pioneer fabric of inter-American norms and institutions to ensure peace between our countries," and in time it has become “a vital organ in the promotion and development of international law in the region. "

In his speech, Secretary General Insulza mentioned some of the achievements reached in the hemisphere in this area throughout the twentieth century, including the peaceful settlement of disputes; the prohibition of the use of force; the non-recognition of the conquest; the regulation of river traffic; and the codification of private international law. All of them, he said, were possible thanks to "some fundamental legal principles" contained in inter-American law, such as the defense of respect for the principle of non-intervention and the principle of legal equality of States, the respect for human rights, and the collective commitment to the defense of representative democracy.

The head of the hemispheric organization further noted the "long tradition of contributions" of the IAJC to the inter-American system on the issue of human rights, including the preparation of the preliminary draft of the Declaration of the International Rights and Duties of Man in the 40’s. "The analysis made by the IACJ speak of its ability to stay ahead of the times and to contribute to the inter-American system, to be seen as a pioneer in many areas of legal activity, especially in the area of human rights," he said.

Addressing the members of the Committee, Secretary General Insulza said that the meeting in Mexico City "represents and opportunity to celebrate the long road traveled by this body, but also to reflect and define new guidelines to keep the Committee working around today's debates. "The challenges we face by the fight against organized crime and corruption require all of our efforts for the development of legal mechanisms for cooperation," he said.

The OAS high-level representative also referred to the "vital role" that the advisory body has played in the issue of democracy, particularly in relation to the Inter-American Democratic Charter, monitoring and enforcement. "The IAJC not only participated in the process of designing the Charter, having been consulted during the months-long negotiations of this instrument, but also it could be said that the Juridical Committee was ahead of its time when it recommended the need to have a democratic clause back in the 90's," he said.

Topics to be considered during the 80th Regular Session of the IAJC include: access to justice; cultural diversity in the development of international law; private International Law; protection of personal data; strengthening the Inter-American System of Human Rights; sexual orientation and gender identity; the Model legislation on protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict; the consideration of a “Guide for regulating the use of force and protection of people in situations of internal violence that do not qualify as armed conflict”; and the issue of simplified stock corporations.

Based in Rio de Janeiro, the IAJC was created in 1906 under the name of Permanent Commission of Jurists, and serves as an advisory body of the OAS in international juridical matters. It promotes the progressive development and the codification of international law.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-076/12