Media Center

Press Release


  April 28, 2008

Panama’s Interior and Justice Minister Daniel Delgado Diamante today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Organization of American States (OAS)for his government to participate in the Hemispheric Network for Exchange of Information for Mutual Assistance in Criminal and Extradition Matters.

Signed against the backdrop of the Seventh Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA VII) that opens at OAS headquarters today, the memorandum of understanding was signed as well by OAS Secretary for Legal Affairs Jean-Michel Arrighi, with OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin signing as witness of honor.

The OAS General Secretariat administers the mechanism of support that sets the terms and conditions for use of the services as well as what persons will have access to the services. It also establishes the requirements for those who will have access along with mechanisms for training of those individuals.

The Panamanian Minister of the Interior and Justice said the memorandum will “add life to agreements, treaties, and conventions on cooperation in criminal and extradition matters,” on which the Republic of Panama has been an extraordinarily active participant at the International level, collaborating with all countries. Minister Delgado Diamante noted as well that the memorandum “provides added legal force to all matters related to combating international organized crime which have needed more and better tools to fulfill the objective of making cooperation more effective.”

Panama’s participation in this inter-American network will be much more dynamic and represents a much more active link, the Panamanian official stated. He also noted that despite his country being among the last to sign this memorandum of understanding, “we do so with great enthusiasm, very keen on collaborating in the fight against international organized crime, through this network.”

Meanwhile, Arrighi said that to more effectively implement inter-American treaties on criminal matters and extradition, and to prevent them from being “dead letters,” this network of national authorities is vital as these are the authorities responsible for transmitting the relevant documents of treaties or conventions. In this initiative, the OAS contributes technical support via information technology, among others. The network involves such components as a database and secure e-mail exchange platform that facilitates quick exchange of information on a very confidential basis, with all the security guarantees among the participating authorities.

In reiterating the importance of this memorandum for the OAS, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin explained that given the vast body of conventions, agreements, treaties and legal statutes adopted by the member states over the last 60 years, there is recognition that they mean nothing without implementation. This memorandum will “provide us the opportunity to cooperate with the government of Panama much more effectively in the implementation of hemispheric legislation. It will also give us an opportunity to be much more effective in carrying out the mandates which member states have given us,” said Ramdin.

Reference: E-150/08