COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN JURIDICAL COMMITTEE TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MANAGEMENT OF INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS
COMISSÃO JURÍDICA INTERAMERICANA
Rua Senador Vergueiro No. 81 - 2 andar
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letter of August 25 of this year, transmitted to me by fax (5521) 225-4600, in which you ask me, pursuant to resolution AG/RES.1349 XXV of June 9, 1995, to send you a written report on the progress made by the Inter-American Juridical Committee in implementing the initiatives of the Summit of the Americas and on its plans for giving continuity to the corresponding activities.
In reply, I shall attempt to outline the work accomplished in that area by the Inter-American Juridical Committee. The annual report for 1995, to be completed in January 1996, will discuss the various topics more fully.
1. Strengthening of democracy
On March 23, 1995, the CJI approved a resolution on Democracy in the inter-American System. The topic had been on the Committee's agenda for two years on the initiative of one of its members, Dr. Vío Grossi, and the text of the resolution actually reflects conclusions arrived at in previous Committee meetings. Of particular interest is the part of the resolution in which the Committee notes that "the member states observe the following principles and standards with respect to the effective exercise of representative democracy:" The list which follows is important. It should be noted, however, that all the principles and standards mentioned are already unarguably lege lata and the wording of the caput therefore does not modify the nature of the principles and standards.
The final part of the resolution under reference reads as follows:
1. To propose to the relevant bodies of the Organization that they adopt the following measures with a view to the steady effective development of international law with respect to representative democracy:
(a) Provide for coordination with other international organizations with a view to conducting studies, seminars, round tables or other means of analyzing and studying the experiences and positions of the OAS and other international organizations as regards representative democracy; and
(b) Distribute Report CJI/SO/II/doc.37/94 rev. 1 corr. 2, Additional Report CJI/SO/I/doc.7/95 rev. 2, and this resolution to the member states so that the latter should forward them to their respective law and political science faculties for observations and comments concerning the progressive development of international law with respect to the effective exercise of representative democracy.
2. To continue study of the topic, with emphasis on the following aspects:
(a) Identify and typify possible international illicit acts against the effective exercise of representative democracy, and determine what responsibility for such exercise should be assumed by the state and individuals.
(b) Possible violations of international law through acts designed to distort election results either by curtailing suffrage or by tampering with vote counts.
(c) The relationship between the effective exercise of representative democracy, international peace and security, and human rights.
(d) The legal scope of such measures or actions as the OAS may adopt with the aim of reestablishing the effective exercise of representative democracy.
3. To transmit this resolution to the Secretary General and the Permanent Council for the aforementioned purposes.
This resolution was unanimously approved at a meeting held March 23, 1995, with the following members present: Ramiro Saraiva Guerreiro, Jonathan T. Fried, Luis Herrera Marcano, Alberto Zelada Castedo, José Luis Siqueiros, Mauricio Gutiérrez Castro, Roberto Alemán, Miguel Angel Espeche Gil, and Eduardo Vío Grossi.
Drs. Fried, Espeche and Zelada concur with reasoned votes attached to this resolution."
It is therefore concluded that the CJI is providing a broad and complex program to ensure the continuity of its work on this topic of fundamental importance to the Americas.
In addition, the CJI is treating the item "Improving the administration of justice in the Americas" as an independent topic and has approved the following resolutions in that regard:
- CJI/RES.II-19/94 (August 25, 1995)
- CJI/RES.I-4/95 (March 24, 1995)
- CJI/RES.II-12/95 (August 18, 1995)
2. The promotion and protection of human rights
By resolution I-8.95, of March 24, the CJI resolved to retain on its agenda the item pertaining to the right of information and, in the August meeting, to define the aspects of the matter that merit priority action in view of their broad and varied ramifications. In its August meeting the rapporteur, Dr. Gutiérrez Castro, was unanimously requested to concentrate for the moment on the question of access to information by given persons and the protection of such access. The item remains on the Committee's agenda.
3. The fight against corruption
This item was included in the Committee's agenda in 1992 on the initiative of Committee member Dr. Vanossi, and became a priority under a decision of the General Assembly.
On March 24, by resolution I-7/95, the CJI decided inter alia to ask the rapporteur of the topic to update his report for the August meeting, in view of the draft Inter-American convention against corruption presented by Venezuela, other projects submitted to the Organization, etc. It is important to note that at the meeting the Committee heard statements by Ambassador Edmundo Vargas Carreño, Chair of the Working Group of the Council on Probity and Public Ethics and by Ambassador Allegret of Venezuela, which greatly facilitated the coordination of its activities. In the August meeting the item acquired first priority, because the General Assembly on June 9, 1995 instructed the Inter-American Juridical Committee to present its observations on the preliminary draft inter-American convention against corruption of June 16, 1995 assigned to the working group appointed by the Permanent Council and prepared by its chair. In carrying out its urgent task, the Committee again heard Ambassador Vargas Carreño, intensively discussed the texts, and presented a report with its observations on the preliminary draft convention as well as an alternative text for that preliminary draft. The item remains on the agenda of the CJI, which set up a working group consisting of Dr. Luis Herrera Marcano, Dr. Eduardo Vío Grossi, and the rapporteur, Chairman Miguel A. Espeche Gil, who will keep the issue under review and consider comments from the CJI on various aspects of the topic in general.
4. The elimination of the threat of national and international terrorism
This was also a topic already on the Committee's agenda, through the initiative of Dr. Espeche Gil, its rapporteur, when the Council and the Assembly decided to study it. At the March meeting there was no time to consider Dr. Espeche's initial report with the substantive attention it called for. That meeting was in fact devoted primarily to work on coordination, which in the event proved vital as the CJI received the visit from Dr. Beatriz Ramacciotti and reports on the work in the context of the Council of the Organization. At the August meeting the item on probity and public ethics took up so much time that it was impossible to devote as much effort to terrorism as the Committee would have wished. Ambassador Ramacciotti was heard again and several conceptual points were clarified in order to guide the work, harmonizing it with the work underway in the appropriate working group of the Council. The rapporteur will take into account a wide range of treaties and existing national laws in his forthcoming studies, as well as relevant works of the UN Commission on International Law.
5. Free trade in the Americas
The CJI maintains coordination with the Special Committee on Trade and sent an observer, Dr. Zelada, to the Montevideo meeting. In 1994 the CJI prepared a study, which it is updating, on methods for settling disputes in subregional integration schemes. In the August meeting it updated the document, both in the introductory note and in the annexes, including two new papers, one by Dr. Zelada on the Andean Group and the other by Dr. Gutiérrez Castro on the Central American Common Market. The Committee decided itself to publish that study, in revised form, and to disseminate it more widely as recommended by the General Assembly. The Committee members will continue to update the documentation, keeping in mind actual practice in dispute settlement in the various systems. The Committee further decided to place on its agenda, pursuant to a General Assembly decision, the study of the most favored nation principle and its application in the Americas, or other means of favoring the less developed countries. Such a study would examine GATT and WTO experiences, regional integration and free trade schemes, etc. The Chair of the CJI continued to explore, together with the Special Committee on Trade and the Secretariat unit, possible interest in a comparative study of the organizational structure and areas of competence of the normative agencies in the various integration schemes.
With further reference to free trade, it should be mentioned that the CJI has taken up the question of securities markets in the Americas, in close contact with specialized bodies of the exchanges themselves, and in addition decided to initiate studies on the question of international insolvency. Rapporteurs have been appointed for those topics.
Please find enclosed the minutes of the March and August meetings. However, as I mentioned, only the 1995 Annual Report, due in January 1996, will be able to provide more thorough information.
Ramiro Saraiva Guerreiro
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