Latin America / Cooperation between justice systems

Consolidating alliances between the judicial systems of the EU and Latin America to combat organised crime

28 June 2021

Participation by the leaders of the judicial institutions from the two regions. In total, more than 20 senior representatives of regional institutions (COMJIB, AIAMP, Ibero-American Judicial Summit) and Latin American countries including Paraguay, Panama and Chile, the two countries from the Iberian Peninsula and the EU General Directorate of Justice and Eurojust.

The main objective of the event organised by EL PAcCTO (Europe Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime) is to consolidate relations between the justice institutions of the European Union and Latin America.

The meeting was opened by Portuguese Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, and was attended by the European Union Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders (videoconference), the Secretary General to the Conference of Ministers of Justice of the Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB), Enrique Gil Botero and the Portuguese Attorney General, Lucília Gago.

“EL PAcCTO is an important opportunity to deepen different aspects of criminal policy and create trustful alliances between the various criminal systems, which is essential for the effective functioning of cooperation,” said Francisca Van Dunem, who added that “we must continue to invest in regional and international cooperation, based on mutual trust and collective interest. The EL PAcCTO Programme plays a decisive role in this context.”

The European Union Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, via videoconference highlighted that “the European Union is working on approving new legislation to define and accept electronic evidence” and, in this regard, stated they have been working intensively with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Minister Francisca Van Dunem on this matter, and will continue in the next presidency to try to reach an agreement with the European Parliament in order to make it possible to make progress with this effort by providing prosecutors and authorities with access to digital evidence. He reiterated his gratitude to Portugal for the efforts made to achieve this goal during its presidency of the Council of the European Union and also Portugal’s support for the EL PAcCTO programme.

The Secretary General of the COMJIB, Enrique Gil Botero, affirmed that “justice is a fundamental tool for consolidating the Rule of Law. Justice adopts different facets, and in all of them, its contribution is essential to defending democracies, guaranteeing human rights and promoting social order and peace.”

Also participating in the opening ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) Elena Martínez Rosso, the Attorney General in Charge of Panama and Vice President of AIMAP, Javier Enrique Caraballo Salazar, and the President of Eurojust (by videoconference), Ladislav Hamran.

Over the course of three days, several current and urgent issues were discussed, such as the new policies to recover assets from criminals, Eurojust’s relationship with justice institutions and joint investigation teams, data protection as a basis for effective and safe international judicial cooperation, the challenges for criminal defenders in cases relating to the environment, crime and new technologies, judicial independence and the creation and electronic transmission of requests for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

Consolidating relations between the EU and Latin American justice institutions

The meeting between justice institutions from Latin America and the EU in Lisbon, took place after several working meetings between the institutions in the two regions under the slogan “Creating Alliances Between the Two Regions”.

In the first virtual meeting, EL PAcCTO brought together authorities from the justice institutions in the two regions last September. The participants pledged to continue collaborating to create effective work synergies against crime. As a result of that event, this 2nd Meeting was devised to continue consolidating the working relationships between the two regions.

EL PAcCTO Programme

EL PAcCTO (Europe-Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime) is an international cooperation programme funded by the European Union that seeks to contribute to security and justice in Latin America by supporting the fight against transnational organised crime. In its interventions, EL PAcCTO addresses the entire criminal chain from a comprehensive perspective through its work on three components: police, justice, and prisons.

EL PAcCTO is coordinated by two institutions that specialise in cooperation programme management: FIIAPP (Spain) and Expertise France (EF), and its two European partners: IILA (Italy) and Camões (Portugal).  See more on the website