Justice, Rule of Law and Security of the Individual

In an effort to ensure equal access to justice and to guarantee its timely and impartial administration, countries of the hemisphere have committed to the following mandates: 

At the Miami Summit of the Americas, the administration of and universal access to justice were highlighted as a part of the promotion of human rights and democracy.  In Miami, the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) was strengthened in order to better assist in legislative and judicial practices, government reforms (including the administration of justice) and other such changes. 

The Second Summit of the Americas, in Santiago, reiterated the need to strengthen the justice systems and judiciaries.  It promoted, among other things, the independence of the judiciary, an increase in the access to justice, the exchange of information on judicial issues, the fight against organized crime and prevention of delinquency.  Governments also supported and encouraged further work of the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General, who subsequently have met three times between 1998 and 2002.  After this Summit, the Justice Studies Center was also founded to promote the ideals of judicial reform planted in the Santiago Plan of Action. 

At the Quebec City Summit of the Americas, the importance of justice in the Americas was further emphasized.  In a section devoted to Access to Justice, hemispheric leaders commit to working towards the facilitation of the development of formal and alternative programs to protect citizensí rights and ensure prompt, equal and universal use of judicial systems.  A second section, on the Independence of the Judiciary, promotes seeking measures to ensure transparent judicial selection, secure tenure on the bench and appropriate standards of conduct and systems of accountability.  Finally, the Heads of State and Government agree to foster extensive information sharing at all levels of judicial authorities, in order to meet international human rights standards, to reduce the number of pre-trial detainees, to institute alternative forms of sentencing for minor crimes and to improve prison conditions throughout the Hemisphere.  They also reiterate their support for regular meetings of the Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas and reaffirm the importance of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas as a mechanism for strengthening the judicial branch of governments for the betterment of all populations of the region.

At the Special Summit of the Americas held in Monterrey, Mexico, the leaders of the Americas agreed that access to information, held by the State, is an indispensable condition for citizen participation and promotes effective respect for human rights. Also, the Heads of State and Government recognized the modernization of the State as an important element for strengthening democratic and good governance. They also agreed to promote the use of new information and communication technologies in public administration and to adopt strategies for the development of electronic government. Also, they adopted compromises to strengthen the Follow Up Mechanism of the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, and they committed to deny safe haven to corrupt officials, to increase to increase transparency in the international organizations and in electoral party finances, among others. They also reiterated that terrorism, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, constitute grave threats to international security. Leaders also committed to fighting all forms of transnational crime, including illicit trafficking in drugs, arms, and persons.

Upcoming Events in the area of Justice can be found in the calendar of events.

To see the archives of activities that have taken place in the areas of Justice, please see the links below:

Access to Justice

Independence of the Judiciary

Ministers of Justice

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