Legal Cooperation in Criminal Matters Meeting Place

Le Forum de l'assistance judiciaire en matière criminelle

Foro de Asistencia Judicial en Materia Penal

Fórum de Assistência Jurídica em Matéria Penal







1. SUMMARY: OAS Permanent Council (PC) convened September 10, 2003. Pierre-Gilles Bélanger from Justice Canada made a presentation on the Working Group on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. PC received an update on the renovation of the General Secretariat Building. The IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Dr. Eduardo Bertoni, presented a document on Access to Public Information: Strengthening Democracy. The Style Committee of the General Assembly made its report. There was a farewell to USA > ' > s Ambassador Roger Noriega. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Raymond Valcin (Haiti)

2. Presentation on the Activities of the Working Group on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters: Mr. Pierre-Gilles Bélanger (Lawyer, Dept. of Justice Canada) made a presentation on the WG. The current goals of this WG are the creation of a web site and a secure e-mailing system. Dr. Rosario Duaso (consultant from the University of Montreal) made a technical presentation on the website. Mr. Bélanger asked for the collaboration of the permanent mission in order to ensure the participation of all member States in the

project, most importantly by forwarding the reference documents necessary for the website.

3. The presentation was well received. Peru underlined the importance of the collaboration of the States in Judicial matters to fight more efficiently against terrorism, international crime, and corruption, amongst others. Peru is especially interested in expanding the work of the working group to the issue of extradition. El Salvador recommended speeding up the creation of an Hemispheric Plan to combat criminality and terrorism and exhorted the members to help extend this Web project for information to the world. Mexico invited the presenters to make this presentation in the next meeting of the CICAD, which will be held, from Oct. 6 to the 8th (First Inter-American Meeting on Cooperation Mechanism to Fight Organized Crime), which will be held in Mexico. Grenada underlined their concern with the equal application of this legal process to all the States and all sectors, because of the difference of each country in its development.

4. Access to Public Information: Strengthening Democracy: Dr. Eduardo Bertoni, IACHR Special Rapporteur, stated that there is a direct relation between access to public information and democracy, that there is no democratic development in places where there is corruption, and that access to information contributes to better transparency, while secrecy contributes to tyranny. He suggested that the PC should organize activities for the diffusion and knowledge in promoting access to public information. He thanked Brazil, Mexico and Peru for the contributions to his office.

5. Mexico stated that the GOM is promoting accessibility based on a government-governed relation which includes divulgation of information, transparency and informing. Peru stated that access to information is important for democracy, but that there has to be an established procedure for identifications of the limits of the access to public information. Peru is hosting a conference on this topic next November. USA reminded that the framework used in this report does not correspond to the mandate given by the General Assembly. USA asked UPD for some suggestions of what could be follow-up activities. Indeed, the resolution doesn > ' > t ask the special rapporteur to suggest follow-up activities to the PC. Venezuela wants the issue of access to private information to be included when access to information is being discussed. Canada clarified that we consider that the right to information is part of freedom of expression and not a right by itself. We agree that we can only consider the document of the Special rapporteur as "suggestions".

6. Farewell to Roger Noriega: PC bid farewell to Amb. Noriega who has been promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. Ambassador John Maisto will replace him as PermRep of the USA to the OAS.

7. Presentation on the renovation of the General Secretariat Building: There was a virtual presentation of the actual building and a virtual presentation of how it will look after the work is done. They expect the small meeting rooms to be done by November and the Permanent Council > ' > s room in June.

8. Report of the Style Committee: Adopted.

9. Commemoration of the anniversary of the death of the founding father of the Republic of Paraguay, Dr. Jose Gaspar de Francia: Amb. Enrique Chase Plate, PermRep of Paraguay, gave a brief apercu of the biography of the Incorruptible, Father of the democratic Republic of Paraguay.

10. Promotion of the Democratic Culture through Education : Panama reminded that resolution 1957 states that there have to be during the fourth trimester of 2003 an activity for the Promotion of the Democratic Culture through Education.

Drafted: Javier Cruz

Consulted: Catherine Vézina

Approved : Amb. Durand

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