Legal relations between Europe and Latin America are gaining momentum by the day and their effective functioning is the key to combating organised crime on both sides of the Atlantic. It is a crucial issue in achieving general and legal protection in these countries, in addition to facilitating social and economic development. In the current context, crimes committed in one part of the globe inevitably affect the other parts and major criminals act simultaneously and with significant resources in several countries. This includes preparing their crimes, carrying them out or to using the profits.
The fact is that, in recent years, there has been an increase in mutual legal assistance between the judicial authorities of the European Union and Latin America. However, it is necessary to establish innovative cooperation mechanisms that can generate new advances in the rules, structures and practices of the authorities, in order to guarantee greater efficiency and to fight more effectively against organised criminal groups. It is for this reason that, on 23 September 2020, the European Union’s “Europe Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime” (EL PAcCTO), which is managed by FIIAPP and Expertise France with its partners IILA and Camões, organised a first remote meeting between representatives from the networks in Latin America and the European Union, at which a strong interest by the participants could be noted in undertaking more regular exchanges and developing more stable working and cooperation mechanisms between representatives from the two regions.
In this context, and within the framework of the Portuguese presidency of the European Union, EL PAcCTO has organised a second meeting in Lisbon that links the largest Latin American regional cooperation networks, with a presence on both continents, with the European ones. All of them are entrusted with the most effective functioning of justice, in particular the fight against organised crime, with the aim of achieving the greatest possible coordination in the cooperation relations between the two regions. In a world that is preparing to deal with life after COVID-19, a situation exploited by criminal organisations, particularly through new information and communication technologies, this meeting is not so much an opportunity as a necessity to adapt international cooperation to the new social and legal circumstances.
The meeting is a highly significant occasion to establish ways to deepen joint working relationships in international legal cooperation, seeking to extend the operation of complex techniques such as joint investigation teams, improve the formal relationship frameworks between the judicial institutions in both continents, the use of technologies to expedite cooperation and establish common guarantees for all citizens, as is the case with the rights related to the protection of personal data, among others. It is a matter, in particular, of adapting the pace of the work performed by judges and prosecutors to the increasingly vertiginous crime rate, advocating the guarantees that give strength and authority to the actions of the states.
It is also the time to face the new and growing needs posed by contemporary societies. The consequences of major environmental crimes have global consequences on the health of the planet, biodiversity and society as a whole. It is necessary that the institutions on both continents react, seeking the conditions that improve the investigation, evidence and the punishment of those responsible. In addition, the digital age that we enjoy requires real protection, so that crimes related to information and communication technologies can be proven efficiently. Therefore, it is time to lay the foundations to combat these increasingly current and urgent challenges to protect citizens and societies.
The Latin American and European countries share the same culture relating to a respect for legality and the rights of citizens as the foundation of democracy and social development. We also suffer the consequences of global crime. The meeting between the largest regional institutions in both regions in the field of justice that will take place in Lisbon is aimed at promoting and updating the existing cooperation frameworks, establishing commitments and actions that allow new techniques to be launched for international legal cooperation to face the needs of the fight against current and future major crime. A great challenge
Enrique Gil Botero. Secretary General to the Conference of Ministries of Justice of the Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB)
Elena Martínez Rosso. Permanent Secretary of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit
Jorge Abbott Charme. President of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor’s Offices (AIAMP)
Juan Gama. Director of EL PAcCTO
Xavier Cousquer. Director of EL PAcCTO
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