• 13 May 2021

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “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. 

  • 28 July 2017

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    Inmaculada Aguado, collaborating with FIIAPP for over 10 years

    We talk to Inmaculada Aguado about her work in the Ministry of Justice supporting the international cooperation projects managed by FIIAPP

    Inmaculada Aguado is the Head of the Support Unit for the Director General of International Cooperation in Spain’s Ministry of Justice. Her collaboration with FIIAPP goes back a long way, since 2005. Up to now she has been responsible for coordinating numerous justice-related international cooperation projects managed by FIIAPP.

    Currently her work is focussed on a wide variety of tasks of an institutional nature, such as preparation for visits by foreign delegations wanting to learn about the Spanish experience in the context of justice, negotiation of collaboration agreements with other countries, as well as coordination of the Ministry of Justice’s participation in international projects.

     

    What is the work of the Ministry of Justice in international cooperation?

    When we speak of international cooperation in the context of justice, it’s important to differentiate very clearly between international legal cooperation and international development cooperation. With respect to the former, international legal cooperation, it should be noted that legal assistance between countries is essential in a globalised world in which court proceedings increasingly have an extra-territorial component and, therefore, require the collaboration of various countries’ authorities for the prosecution of criminal suspects.

     

    And with respect to international development cooperation, this involves the participation of the Ministry of Justice in justice-related projects with countries with which we have very special relationships. These projects may have very distinct purposes: supporting legislative reforms of criminal codes; the training of judges and prosecutors; the modernisation of justice systems; the creation of courts specialised in certain subjects, such as gender-based violence, etc.

     

    What is the relationship between the Ministry of Justice and European Unión External Action policies? 

    At the Ministry of Justice of Spain, we follow the guidelines given to us by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, which in turn aligns itself with EU External Action policies, and we support the strengthening of the rule of law in the countries considered high-priority for Spain. These includes the Ibero-American countries, European countries that aspire to EU membership (the Balkans and Turkey) and the countries whose stability is in our interest, such as those of North Africa, as they are our southern neighbours, and our security depends on their stability and development.

     

    What matter do the justice projects that FIIAPP collaborates in address? 

    Inmaculada Aguado in a meeting in Spain with representatives of the Tunisian Ministry of Justice
    Inmaculada Aguado in a meeting in Spain with representatives of the Tunisian Ministry of Justice

     

    Currently the Ministry of Justice is participating by leading two Twinning projects with Tunisia and Turkey.

     

    The project with Tunisia’s Ministry of Justice aims to support that ministry in adapting its organisation and operations to the new challenges it is facing, as following the 2011 Revolution it must enact reforms that affect the rule of law following approval of the Constitution of 2014.

     

    We also have another project with the Turkish Ministry of Justice and legal profession to support them in improving their public defence system, in which we are also collaborating with the bar associations of Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.

     

    Both projects include the participation of ministry employees, judges, prosecutors, justice administration attorneys and lawyers who travel to Tunisia or Turkey for a week to work and share good practices with their Tunisian and Turkish colleagues. We implement these projects in collaboration with other countries, in the case of Tunisia with Italy, and in the case of Turkey with Lithuania and France.

     

    In the time you have been collaborating in this type of projects, have you seen an evolution in cooperation projects? 

    Cooperation projects are becoming increasingly ambitious and in, the case of those I typically handle, these are projects that aim to support institutional changes in the countries where we work.

     

    To contribute to real changes, the Spanish experts hold positions of responsibility in the corresponding institutions in Spain, as justice ministry professionals are the people who know how to propose improvements to other countries because they have had to make these reforms. And so they are increasingly asking for more specialised people who know their technical working area (for example, judge training) and also have certain skills for working in different cultural environments and often in another language.

     

    What are the challenges facing justice in a globalised world? 

    In a globalised world in which borders no longer exist, not even for criminals, justice administration faces the challenge of finding new mechanisms for fighting new types of crimes, such as cybercrime offenses, as well as those associated with organised crime and terrorism.

     

    To combat these crimes, harmonisation of legislation is necessary, a task that corresponds to the justice ministries, but also collaboration between all professionals working in every part of the criminal justice system, whether at the operative level, through police investigation, or in the prosecution phase, which is the responsibility of prosecutors and judges.