13 May 2021
Category : Interview
“Democratic governance is our main challenge”
Interview with Javier Samper, head of the Support Unit with the General Directorate of International Legal Cooperation and Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice, on the international cooperation work undertaken by the Ministry of Justice with FIIAPP.
What does the Ministry of Justice do? What institutions does it cover?
The work of the Ministry of Justice, in relation to FIIAPP, is complex and has several different and distinct facets. On the one hand, logically, the Ministry of Justice is basically an actor in development cooperation. The Ministry of Justice is also entrusted with a coordinating role, that is, it works with other actors that are also essential for any development cooperation project in the field of justice, such as the General Council of the Judiciary, the State General Prosecutor’s Office, the Spanish General Bar Association, notaries and registrars.
Why is it important for the Ministry of Justice to be involved in international cooperation projects? What does it contribute?
The experts at the Ministry of Justice are important in very diverse situations. It is also one of the competences of the Ministry of Justice. In other words, it is part of the work carried out by the Ministry of Justice and it is an issue that is included in our planning, our actions and ,of course, that is included in the strategy of the Ministry of Justice abroad.
The Ministry of Justice works on projects managed by FIIAPP. How long have they worked together and how is the relationship between FIIAPP and the Ministry?
I would say that the relationship between FIIAPP and MINJUS is excellent, it is very streamlined, which is essential. We work hand in hand with the Justice and Rule of Law area and, as a public institution, I would say that the relationship began the moment FIIAPP was created. I am aware that from the moment FIIAPP became involved in the twinning programmes, which are managed by the European Commission’s NEAR DG, twinning programmes have been led by the Ministry of Justice.
One of the main projects on which FIIAPP works with the Ministry of Justice is EL PAcCTO, what does this project involve?
El PAcCTO is a programme with an innovative approach to international legal cooperation or international cooperation in the fight against organised crime in Latin America, but also with a Euro-Latin American perspective. It is not only about improving the approach taken by public administrations and public powers in Latin America. In fact, it is also about building the working relationship, the cooperative relationship that exists between Latin American and European institutions.
As well as El PAcCTO, the Ministry of Justice works with FIIAPP on other projects. Could you tell us about some of its achievements?
At the moment we have a great relationship with Turkey, where we are currently working on three training projects for judges and prosecutors, civil enforcement offices and also, on advanced forensic analytical methods involving the Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences attached to the Ministry of Justice. In addition, there are, of course, several projects that are particularly significant to us because of the strategic importance of the subject at hand, and because it also has a novel approach. For example, the I-CRIME project, which mainly deals with the fight against organised crime in Central American countries.
By participating in cooperation projects, the Ministry of Justice shares its knowledge with its counterpart institutions, but are there also lessons to be learned?
Basically, the work is done by specific experts who travel to the beneficiary countries with the idea of transferring the knowledge and experiences that the Spanish administration has been accumulating over an extensive period, which, I believe, is highly valued abroad. The specialist comes back, not only with a large number of personal contacts in foreign administrations, which are then always enormously beneficial because they sometimes allow us to streamline procedures or use ideas, make consultations, etc. In addition, their work has forced them to analyse their situation, the situation in other states, a comparative analysis by gathering opinions from all kinds of specialists, from a multidisciplinary perspective. All this, logically, has a very beneficial impact when the official returns to the home administration.
What are the main challenges for justice in a globalised world?
The fight against terrorism, the financial freezing of organised crime, the fight against corruption, etc. However, I would say that all these issues have some common roots, not in terms of what happens at the beginning of the problem, but in the way of tackling them: good governance. Training in and the application of transparency measures in the adoption of public policies, this type of knowledge transfer, is what encourages and facilitates the international cooperation necessary to face all these challenges tomorrow. Which is why I believe that democratic governance is possibly our main challenge.
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