FIRST HEMISPHERIC MEETING OF REGIONAL COURTS OF THE AMERICAS Port of Spain Declaration

Caribbean Court of Justice

The Hon. Dr Cesar Ernesto Salazar Grande, President of the Central American Court of Justice, meticulously reviewed the draft Declaration to give his stamp of approval on the final day of the Hemispheric Meeting. You can view the Declaration here: https://loom.ly/9lZ7WuE

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FIRST HEMISPHERIC MEETING OF
REGIONAL COURTS OF THE AMERICAS
Port of Spain Declaration

The Caribbean Court of Justice, The Central American Court of Justice, The Court of Justice of the
Andean Community, The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and The Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, on the occasion of the First Hemispheric Meeting of Regional Courts on The Rule of Law
and International Justice held from 22 to 23 September 2022, at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago:
Re-affirming their commitment to the principles and objectives contained in their founding documents,
the Charter of the United Nations, and the American Convention on Human Rights, and other relevant
international human rights instruments, as accepted by the States ascribing to their jurisdiction;
Noting with commendation the existing cordial relationships that allow for institutional and
jurisprudential dialogue, the sharing of information and best practices for their common benefit, and
the desire to strengthen that relationship through continued shared dialogue and efforts between and
among the regional courts of the Americas;
Strongly condemning all wars and the concomitant senseless loss of human life and breaches of the
international rule of law and urging the swiftest end possible to all conflicts which threaten global
peace, security and justice;
Welcoming subscription to this Declaration on the Rule of Law and International Justice to
publicly affirm their fidelity to the following principles that operationalise and advance institutional
integrity and stability of the regional courts in Latin America and the Caribbean and which further the
cause of regional jurisprudence:

  1. The Rule of Law is essential to the growth and flourishing of human society.
  2. Regional courts and tribunals are essential to guarantee the Rule of Law, justice,
    and democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean, within their respective
    competencies, and require appropriate institutional frameworks to fulfil these
    high juridical functions and to guarantee their judicial independence. Regional
    courts should endeavour to deliver judgments in a timely manner.
  3. Member States of regional courts should provide the appropriate institutional
    frameworks. Each of the courts’ corresponding governing treaty, agreed by
    Member States, provides the basis to guarantee the Rule of Law as practised
    in democratic societies served by those courts.
  4. Regional courts of Latin America and the Caribbean should be guaranteed a
    stable, sufficient, autonomous budgetary framework, according to applicable
    law. Among the diverse mechanisms for funding, we recognise that the
    utilisation of Trust Funds or multi-year financial frameworks can constitute
    appropriate arrangements that aim to respect judicial independence and the
    proper functioning of regional courts.
  5. The designation or the selection process of the judges and magistrates of
    regional courts in Latin America and the Caribbean must be transparent
    and permit the selection of suitable judicial officers based on objective
    legal criteria that guide the final designation or selection process, including
    geographic and gender balance considerations. We recognise the desirability,
    if the applicable law allows, to establish technical selection committees,
    made up of relevant and independent individuals from among the judiciary,
    attorneys, legal academics, public service, and civil society as a means to
    facilitate the practical function of appointing judicial officers.
  6. Compliance with and implementation of the judgments of regional courts
    are crucial to ensuring respect for the Rule of Law in Latin America and the
    Caribbean particularly in matters of high importance, in compliance with
    their jurisdiction, such as respect for human rights and the rights of diverse
    groups in situations of vulnerability, economic integration, and environmental
    justice. An adequate and timely enforcement and implementation of the
    judgments of regional courts serve to solidify persons as subjects of the
    international legal system since countless essential rights of individuals are
    supported, directly or indirectly, by International Law, International Human
    Rights Law, or Community Law in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  7. A relationship of respect and collaboration exists between regional courts and
    national courts. Advantage should be taken of every reasonable opportunity
    for jurisprudential dialogue and exchange. Adequate mechanisms in
    international and domestic law to support and direct national compliance
    with and implementation of judgments of regional courts should be ensured.
  8. As a specific instance of collaboration between national courts and regional
    courts that exercise community law jurisdiction, inclusive of hearing matters
    on referral, an obligation on domestic courts to refer appropriate disputes to
    the relevant regional courts affords regional courts valuable opportunities
    to develop jurisprudence and ensure consistency and uniformity in the
    interpretation and application of community law. We urge the fullest
    utilisation of this instrument as anticipated by the terms of the respective
    regional treaty.
    Highly commending the Caribbean Court of Justice for its gracious and excellent hosting of this
    inaugural Hemispheric Meeting of Regional Courts and with express gratitude to the Government
    and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for their considerable support.
    Decide that the next meeting of Hemispheric Regional Courts will be hosted by The Inter-American
    Court of Human Rights at its Seat in San José, Costa Rica in 2023.
    Being done in Spanish and English, each being equally authentic.
    Adopted in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on this 23rd day of September, 2022.
    CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE
    The Hon Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders
    President
    CENTRAL AMERICAN COURT OF JUSTICE
    The Hon Mr. Justice César Ernesto Salazar Grande
    President
    COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE ANDEAN COMMUNITY
    The Hon Mr. Justice Hugo Ramiro Gómez Apac
    President
    EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT
    The Hon Dame Janice Pereira, DBE, LL.D
    Chief Justice
    INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
    The Hon Mr. Justice Ricardo Pérez Manrique
    Presiden

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