Effectiveness in the fight against transnational crime requires that legal systems maintain important points of homogeneity. The implementation of state security policies is sterile without the existence of regulatory and institutional frameworks that make it possible to articulate effective mechanisms for combating the scourge of organized crime within and across borders.
For this reason, it is essential to have both a minimally uniform criminal classification and increasingly advanced common investigative techniques that meet the requirements of modern states governed by the rule of law. In other words, the effectiveness of an international criminal policy rests on the existence of national systems that recognize each other.
The Lisbon Declaration: a before and an after
The Lisbon Declaration, signed in June 2021 and promoted by PAcCTO, laid the foundations that will make it possible to adequately define the standards for the functioning of justice in the face of present and future challenges and established the creation of a technical follow-up committee. Through this formula, the Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB), the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors (AIAMP) and the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) decided to raise justice policies to a strategic continental level based on cooperation and coordination among the main institutions in the field. They also opened up the possibility of involving the institutions of the European Union in the definition of the most important matters.
The formation in the city of Lima in October 2021 of its technical committee established at the operational level the agreement reached by the highest continental institutions in the field of justice, in this case, with the presence of Eurojust.
Subjects such as support for the operational networks of prosecutors; the improvement of legislation on electronic evidence; the adaptation of criminal legislation on cybercrime, environmental crime and money laundering; the independence of the judiciary and public prosecutors; international legal cooperation and its guarantees, including data protection; precautionary management and the distribution of assets derived from crime; the consolidation of the regulatory framework on electronic transmission of requests for criminal cooperation, as well as the digitization of their creation; the consolidation of the functioning of joint investigation teams; the improvement of mechanisms for cross-border enforcement of judgments and other measures, for example those establishing protection orders; or the consolidation of the proper functioning of central authorities constitute the priority axes for the year 2022, but not only for this year.
In fact, the creation of a permanent space for cooperation between institutions at the Latin American regional level has made it possible to establish priorities for the fight against organized crime beyond 2022 and has placed justice at the center of this important public policy, based on shared principles on two continents.
The functioning of the regional institutions that bring together ministries of justice, public prosecutors’ offices and judiciaries is solid and for this reason the Lisbon Declaration signed by all of them constitutes one of the fundamental milestones of recent years in the fight against transnational organized crime and in defense of the rule of law and sets the course for the years to come.
Antonio Roma, Coordinator of the Cooperation between Justice Systems Component of the PAcCTO