Institutional Documents JSCA
AG/RES. 1 (XXVI-E/99) (Approved in the second plenary session held on November 15, 1999)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HAVING SEEN the report presented by the Chair of the Special Group Charges with Implementing the Recommendations of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas during the meeting of the Permanent Council held on September 28, 1999 (CP/ACTA 1205/99);
CONSIDERING: That in the Plan of Action adopted at the Second Summit of the Americas held in Santiago de Chile in April 1998, the Heads of State and Government agreed to establish a Justice Studies Center of the Americas in order to facilitate the improvement of human resources, exchange of information and other forms of technical cooperation in the Hemisphere in accordance with the specific needs of each country; That on the occasion of the Second Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas held in Lima, Peru in March 1999, a recommendation was made to establish a group of government experts open to all delegations so that, among other things, they could develop a draft statute of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas;
CONSIDERING: That in April 1999, the Permanent Council established the Special Group under the Presidency of Peru and Vice Presidency of Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago charged with carrying out the recommendations of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas; That through AG/RES. 1615 (XXIX-O/99), the General Assembly supported and recognized the progress that the Special Group of the Permanent Council has made to facilitate the meetings of government experts on the establishment of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas; That the Special Group of Justice held four meetings of government experts to develop draft statutes of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in order to implement the recommendations of the Second Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas;
The Permanent Council, HAVING APPROVED the draft Statutes of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in a session held on September 28, 1999; and
RECOGNIZING the work of the Special Group charged with carrying out the recommendations of the meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas to develop the draft Statutes of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, which allowed the negotiations with which they were charged to be completed efficiently and within the established timeframe,
RESOLVES: To establish the Justice Studies Center for the Americas and to adopt the following:
The Justice Studies Center of the Americas (hereinafter the “Center”) is an intergovernmental entity with technical and operational autonomy established by resolution of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (hereinafter the “OAS”) in fulfillment of the mandates set forth in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas (Santiago, April 1998) and the recommendations adopted at the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (hereinafter “REMJAs”).
The Center is governed by these Statutes and its Regulations. Its activities shall be carried out in accordance with the policy guidelines reflected in the conclusions and recommendations of the REMJAs and, as appropriate, may consider the pertinent mandates of the Summit of the Americas and resolutions of the OAS General Assembly.
Objectives and Functions
The objectives of the Center are:
- To facilitate the improvement of human resources;
- To facilitate the exchange of information and other forms of technical cooperation;
- To facilitate support for the reform and modernization of the region’s justice systems.
The Center shall have the following functions, among others:
- To serve as a clearinghouse for the collection and distribution of information on national experiences pertaining to modernization and reforms of justice systems in the region;
- To carry out comparative analyses, research and studies on justice issues and facilitate their dissemination;
- To facilitate the dissemination of research and studies related to justice in the Americas;
- To facilitate the training of justice sector personnel and the improvement of existing mechanisms for that purpose in the countries of the Hemisphere;
- To facilitate the dissemination of information on teaching methods, model curricula, and training aids for personnel involved in the justice system;
- To facilitate the dissemination of relevant information on courses, seminars, fellowships and training programs; and
- To support cooperation efforts related to the systems of justice in the Hemisphere.
In the performance of its functions, the Center shall consider the different legal systems in the Hemisphere and, to the extent possible, shall use modern information technology as technical support for its operations. It shall also take into account the activities being developed in this field at the international, regional and subregional levels in order to promote cooperation and avoid duplication of efforts.
In the event that REMJA does not meet in a particular year or period, the powers and functions assigned to REMJA by these Statutes will be performed through the OAS General Assembly.
Composition and Headquarters
All of the member states of the OAS are members of the Center.
Any permanent observer to the OAS and any national or international, governmental or non-governmental organization specializing in the subject area may become an associate member of the Center under terms and conditions established in the Center’s Regulations. The associate members may participate in all Center activities. They may also participate in meetings of the Board of Directors with voice but without vote.
The organizational structure of the Center shall consist of: a Board of Directors, the Executive Leadership and such advisory groups as may be established in accordance with these Statutes.
The Center may enter into cooperation agreements with the member states of the OAS and other states, as well as with international or national, governmental or non-governmental organizations, among others. Such agreements shall be approved by the Board of Directors and deposited with the OAS General Secretariat. They shall specify the conditions and forms of participation in the Center´s activities, as well as the rights and obligations of the parties.
The Board of Directors
- The Board of Directors shall represent the legal systems of the Americas and, to the extent possible, the various sectors of the legal community. Efforts will be made to achieve gender parity in the election of its members.
The means and procedures used to ensure representation on the Board of Directors for the host institution of the Center and for the associate members shall be determined by REMJA on the basis of the recommendation of the Board of Directors.
- The members of the Board of Directors will serve for a three-year term and may not be elected for more than one consecutive period under any circumstances.
- Vacancies produced as a result of reasons other than natural expiration of the term shall be filled during the next period of sessions of the OAS General Assembly.
- Candidates to the Board of Directors shall be individuals with high moral qualities and distinguished service in the sphere of Law, the social sciences, education or public affairs who have made important contributions to the formulation or implementation of justice system reform in their countries.
- The Board of Directors shall represent the legal systems of the Americas and, to the extent possible, the various sectors of the legal community.
The functions of the Board of Directors are as follows:
- To appoint and establish the compensation of the Center’s Executive Director with the approval of the REMJA and ensure that the Director implements the pertinent conclusions and recommendations adopted by the REMJA. It will also have the power to remove the Executive Director.
- To supervise the work of the Executive Leadership;
- To approve the annual work plan in accordance with REMJA guidelines and convert it into medium- and long-term work plans.
- To approve the Center´s annual program-budget and to submit to REMJA medium- and long-term financial policy proposals
- To appoint an external auditor and review the external audit of the financial records submitted annually by the Executive Director;
- To draft, approve, and amend the Center’s Regulations;
- To establish, in consultation with the Executive Leadership, the advisory groups deemed necessary to implement the objectives of the Center;
- To perform any other functions entrusted to it by REMJA.
- To inform OAS member states through the REMJA, as well as the associate members and advisory groups, of the Center’s activities and submit an annual report to the OAS General Assembly; and
- To authorize the establishment of the funds and accounts necessary for the operation of the Center.
- The Board of Directors shall meet at least once a year at the headquarters of the Center.
- All OAS member states shall have the right to participate in meetings of the Board with voice but without vote.
- The advisory groups provided for in Article 15 of these Statutes shall be invited to participate in these meetings with voice but without vote.
- The President of the Board of Directors shall be elected by an absolute majority of the members of the Board for the term specified in its Regulations.
- The quorum for a meeting of the Board of Directors shall be an absolute majority of its members.
- On the Board of Directors, each member shall have one vote. The Board of Directors shall make every possible effort to reach its decisions by consensus. When a decision cannot be reached by consensus, the Board shall adopt its decisions by a majority of votes of the members in attendance.
- The Executive Leadership shall be the operational unit of the Center. It shall be composed of the Executive Director and staff.
- Executive Director shall have the necessary professional, academic, and administrative experience necessary to fully meet the Center’s responsibilities.
- The Executive Director:
- Shall be responsible for the Center’s daily operations, including all personnel decisions and the implementation of the policies approved by the REMJA in accordance with the leadership provided by the Board of Directors;
- Shall make efforts to mobilize the financial resources necessary to implement the Center’s work plan;
- Shall prepare and submit to the Board of Directors the draft annual work plan and program-budget of the Center, including projections for the medium and long term;
- Shall implement the annual work plan within the resources allocated in the annual program-budget and any other resources obtained for that purpose;
- Shall promote and represent the Center;
- Shall serve as the Executive Secretary of the Board of Directors; and
- Shall report regularly on the status of projects and activities and the results achieved in their implementation, on the management of the Center, and on specific funds and other resources entrusted to the Center.
- The Executive Director of the Center shall serve for a period of four years, renewable for a single consecutive term.
- The Executive Leadership will serve at the Center’s headquarters.
The advisory groups established under Article 12 (g) may function at a site other than that of the Center. The requirements and terms of reference for their establishment shall be set forth in the Regulations.
The findings and conclusions of the advisory groups with regard to the matters assigned to them shall be presented to the Board of Directors through the Executive Director.
Budgetary and financial matters
The Center and its activities shall be financed by voluntary contributions provided by the OAS member states and by funds from other public and private sources. To that end, the Board of Directors shall authorize the establishment of specific and fiduciary funds that may be required, such as those provided for in Articles 68 and 69 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat of the Organizations of American States.
Entry into force
These Statutes shall enter into force on the date of its adoption by the OAS General Assembly and may be amended only by that body.
First. For its first phase, the Center shall develop topics related to criminal justice, seeking to take advantage of the experience by other organizations in the Hemisphere in this area.
Second. The headquarters of the Center shall be selected by the REMJA based on the results of the assessments and the recommendations presented by the Board of Directors regarding the proposals made by member states. To that end, the Board of Directors shall evaluate the site proposals of member states according to the following criteria, among other institutional affiliation, financial and/or in-kind support, staff support, and other contributions and facilities to be provided for the Center. Until a site has been selected, the Center shall operate at OAS headquarters.
Third. For the first Board of Directors, three members will be elected for three years, two for a two-year term, and two for one year, the terms to be chosen by lot.