Latin America / Cooperation between justice systems

Promotion of Joint Investigation Teams in Latin America

04 December 2020
Equipos Conjuntos de Investigación

EL PAcCTO has held a virtual meeting with experts from several Latin American countries interested in promoting Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) in Latin America. The JITs are tools for international cooperation that allow fast and agile investigations and exchange of information between several countries. It is made up of police officers, prosecutors and, in some cases, judges from different states.

This is a particularly pressing need for Latin American public ministries. In August 2017, the attorneys general of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Peru signed a document expressing their interest in setting up Joint Investigation Teams. This interest has continued in recent months. Specifically, they have declared the need to identify opportunities to form Joint Investigation Teams and the formalisation of intersectoral action protocols.

EL PAcCTO has been behind 5 JITs in recent years

With this objective in mind, EL PAcCTO has prepared a document with recommendations and lines of action. For this purpose, meetings have been held with experts from COMJIB, MERCOSUR countries and  AIAMP. They explained the difficulties and challenges they encounter when forming a Joint Team. With all these considerations, several Spanish experts and one from Brazil have prepared a document that will serve as the basis for all countries interested in a JIT. The document identifies the challenges and proposes some recommendations to facilitate the promotion of this form of cooperation.

Among them, from the point of view of the regulatory framework, is the need for adequate regulation of the Joint Investigation Teams in national legal systems and the development of an international judicial cooperation law to facilitate their creation and operation. Regarding implementation, it is necessary to promote training programmes to disseminate and improve knowledge of this tool, facilitate exchanges between legal operators from different countries in the region; and promote the development of practical tools that encourage their use. It is also advisable to create a Network of JIT Experts at Ibero-American level to include existing cooperation structures and programmes. In addition to promoting strategies that create trust amonglegal professionals that participate in the JITs and seeking alternative ways to finance these teams.

 

The European Union and cooperation in judicial matters

The European Union supports the establishment of Joint Investigation Teams in Latin America in coordination with the Member States. At the virtual meeting, Vania Bonalverti, head of programmes for Latin America at the Directorate General for Cooperation and Development of the European Commission (DEVCO), highlighted the importance of this new form of cooperation for investigations into organised crime.