The CCJ hosts the first meeting of the Regional Court of the Hemisphere

From September 22-23, 2022, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) convened the First Continental Meeting of Regional Courts (FHMRC) at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad.

Under the theme “Rule of Law and International Justice”, the FHMRC brought together more than 30 participants, including heads of the judiciary from the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Central American Court of Justice, of the Court of Justice of the Andean Community, the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as members of the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago. Also present were practitioners, academics and policy makers from the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. Institutions represented included University of the West Indies, CARICOM Secretariat, iCourts (Danish National Research Foundation Center of Excellence for International Courts); University of Peru and University of A. Coruna.

Special guests and participants over the two days included the Hon. Mr. Justice Ivor Archie, Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, Judge of Appeal, Hon. Madam Justice Mira Dean-Armorer, Judge of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, and the former President of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Anthony Carmona. Special remarks were made by Hon. Mr. Reginald TA Armour, Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

This historic two-day meeting included plenary sessions focusing on compliance and enforcement of international judgments, institutional arrangements of international tribunals, the relationship with national courts and the duty to refer. A declaration was prepared and adopted by acclamation by all regional courts present (and other participants). You can access it using the link provided in this email and on the CCJ website.

During the FHMRC, regional courts in the Caribbean and Latin America reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and purposes of their founding documents, the Charter of the United Nations, the American Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments. relevant to human rights. They accepted these standards to further the administration of justice to their citizens. A stable, adequate and independent fiscal framework, separate from the governments in place, was declared essential to guarantee justice, the rule of law and democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean. As stated by the President of the CCJ, the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, “Justice is an important component of peace. Thus, by providing a remedy for the breach of obligations, whether between or among States or between a State and its citizens, the courts contribute to the peace, stability, development and prosperity of our regional communities and the international community. .”

Notably, the FHMRC was a necessary collaboration between regional and national courts. In his opening address, the Hon. Mr. Justice Winston Anderson, CCJ judge responsible for organizing the conference, said that this meeting provided “a platform to discuss issues of institutional stability and strengthening; even as we exchange best practices in carrying out our substantive work of treaty interpretation and application; facilitate and respond to referrals for treaty interpretation by national courts and tribunals; and ensure compliance with our judgments.

The Plenary Session on the Duty to Refer was a lively discussion and provided ample opportunity for the Caribbean Court of Justice to highlight its own referral process and present its soon-to-be-launched referral process manual. . This publication, accompanied by an educational video, will be officially launched during the biennial conference of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers, which will take place from October 27 to 29, 2022.

Participating courts from the Caribbean and Latin American regions warmly congratulated the CCJ for the courteous and excellent hosting of this inaugural event and expressed their gratitude to the various branches of the state that provided their support. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has agreed to host the Second Hemispheric Meeting of Regional Courts in San José, Costa Rica in 2023.

Elna M. Lemons