Mercosur / Cooperation between justice systems

EL PAcCTO participates in the meeting by the Technical Commission of Justice Ministers from Mercosur

09 September 2021

The coordinator of the EL PAcCTO Justice System component, Prosecutor Antonio Roma, took part in the meeting by the Technical Commission of Justice Ministers from Mercosur. The online event was held from 8 to 10 September under the presidency of Brazil.

Antonio Roma presented the European Union’s experience relating to the international protection of female witnesses and victims of organised crime. EL PAcCTO is working on a protection order for all cases in the Mercosur area and associated states (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay). The main objective is to improve cross-border protection for female victims and witnesses of organised crime. It especially affects cases of human trafficking and serious gender-based violence.

Protecting these women is an urgent matter on the agenda of international organisations. This also applies to regional integration and cooperation areas such as Mercosur.

Protection for women in their destination countries

There are now protection measures available to ensure the safety of victims and witnesses in Mercosur member countries. Standardised measures in terms of the nature and characteristics of the guarantees to be adopted, as well as procedural requirements for their adoption at the national level. These are precautionary or definitive measures agreed upon after a sentence. The measures confirm the need to protect these victims. It must be remembered that many of them act as witnesses in proceedings against criminal gangs.

EL PAcCTO wants these measures to be recognised when victims and witnesses move to another country. This is where international judicial cooperation comes into play. Once the victim’s intention to move to another country is made known, the judicial authority in the country that adopted the measures must submit a request to the competent authority in the destination country to recognise the validity of the measures in the new territory. Protection in the destination country must be mandatory and effective.

It is important that these protection measures are not directed only at measures that directly and exclusively affect victims and witnesses, but that in most cases they involve restrictive measures or prohibitions adopted against perpetrators of the threat.