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Compilation of documents or texts adopted and used by various intergovernmental, international, regional and subregional organizations aimed at promoting and consolidating democracy


Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America (Excerpt)

The Governments of the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua and Panama , hereinafter referred to as "the Parties",

WHEREAS

The fundamental objective of the Central American Integration System and of the Alliance for Sustainable Development is to bring about the integration of Central America in order to strengthen it as a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development;

One of the purposes of the Central American Integration System, as set forth in the Tegucigalpa Protocol, is to attain the sustainable development of Central America, which presupposes defining a new, unique, comprehensive and indivisible regional security model inspired by the region's achievements during its intensive process of pacification and integration;

The countries of Central America have reaffirmed their commitment to democracy on the basis of the rule of law and the guarantee of fundamental freedoms, economic freedom and social justice, and of support for a community of democratic values among States linked by ties of history, geography, brotherhood and cooperation;

The sustainable development of Central America can be achieved only by forming a regional legal community that protects, safeguards and promotes human rights and guarantees legal security, ensuring peaceful and integrative relations among the States of the region;

Situations which disturb the peace and affect the security of any of the Central American States also affect all the States of the region and their people;

The fact that their objectives coincide with regard to consolidating democracy is not incompatible with recognition of the specific features of each country of the region, including the special situation of those that have decided to eliminate their armies or maintain them permanently in accordance with their constitutions;

In recent years, as peace and democracy have been consolidated, the Central American countries have made significant advances in achieving these objectives, through demobilization and the reduction of military troops and budgets, the separation of police functions from those of national defence, the elimination of obligatory military service or, where appropriate, the adoption of a voluntary service, efforts and actions to intensify the struggle against impunity, terrorism and drug trafficking, and the growing professionalization of public security forces, among other aspects;

The Central American Democratic Security Model is based on the supremacy and strengthening of the power of civil society, a reasonable balance of forces, security of individuals and their property; the elimination of poverty and extreme poverty, the promotion of sustainable development; protection of the environment; and the eradication of violence, corruption, impunity, terrorism, and trafficking in drugs and arms. In addition, the Central American Democratic Security Model will increasingly channel its resources into social investment;

In order to achieve the objectives and observe the principles set forth above, it is essential to continue the present efforts and to adopt a framework legal instrument that will allow for the full development of all the aspects of the new Democratic Security Model which will confirm the validity of the progress made;

agree to sign this Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America , as an instrument supplementary to the Tegucigalpa Protocol.

TITLE I

RULE OF LAW

Article 1 . The Central American Democratic Security Model is based on democracy and the strengthening of its institutions and the rule of law; on the existence of Governments elected by universal and free suffrage, with secret ballot, and of unconditional respect for all human rights in the States comprising the Central American region.

The fundamental purpose of the Central American Democratic Security Model is to ensure respect for and the promotion and safeguard of all human rights, and its provisions therefore guarantee the security of the Central American States and their people through the creation of conditions that allow for their personal, family and social development in peace, freedom and democracy. The model is based on the strengthening of the power of civil society, political pluralism, economic freedom, the elimination of poverty and extreme poverty, the promotion of sustainable development and the protection of the consumer and of the environment and cultural heritage; the eradication of violence, corruption, impunity, terrorism, and trafficking in drugs and arms; and the establishment of a reasonable balance of forces that takes into account the internal conditions of each State and the need for cooperation among all the Central American countries so as to ensure their security.

Article 2 . The Central American Democratic Security Model shall be governed by the following principles in relation to this Title:

(a) The State ruled by law, which includes the supremacy of the rule of law, the existence of legal security and the effective exercise of civil liberties;

(b) The strengthening and constant improvement of democratic institutions in each of the States, in order to reinforce each institution within its own sphere of action and responsibility through a continued, sustained process of consolidation and strengthening of the power of civil society, restriction of the role of the armed and public security forces to their constitutional areas of competence, and promotion of a culture of peace, dialogue, understanding and tolerance based on shared democratic values;

(c) The principle of subordination of the armed forces, police and public security forces to the constitutionally established civilian authorities, chosen in free, honest and pluralistic elections; and

(d) The maintenance of a flexible and active dialogue and mutual cooperation on security in all its aspects in order to guarantee the irreversible character of democracy in the region.

Article 3 . To ensure the security of the individual, the Parties agree that any action by the public authorities shall be taken within a framework of the respective legal system and in full respect for international human rights instruments.

Article 4 . Each of the Parties shall establish and maintain at all times effective control over its military or public security forces by the constitutionally established civilian authorities; it shall ensure that these authorities fulfil their responsibilities in this framework; and it shall clearly define the doctrine, missions and functions of these forces and their obligation to act only in that context.

Article 5 . Corruption, whether public or private, is a threat to democracy and the security of the people and States of the Central American region. The Parties undertake to make every effort to eradicate it at all levels and in all its forms.

In that context, the meeting of the State authorities of each of the Parties shall provide advisory assistance to the Security Commission in the design, establishment and implementation of regional programmes and projects for the modernization and harmonization of legislation, investigation, education and the prevention of corruption.

Article 6 . The Parties shall make every effort to eradicate impunity. The Security Commission shall establish contacts with the relevant institutions and authorities in order to help elaborate programmes designed to harmonize and modernize the Central American criminal justice systems.

Article 7 . The Parties recognize how important it is for their public authorities and military and public security forces to be guided in their actions by the principles and recommendations contained in the following United Nations General Assembly resolutions:

(a) 40/34 Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power;

(b) 43/173 Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment;

(c) 45/113 United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty ;

(d) 3452 (XXX) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

(e) 34/169 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials;

together with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Article 8 . For the strengthening of democracy, the Parties reaffirm their obligation to abstain from providing political, military, financial or any other kind of support to individuals, groups, irregular forces or armed gangs which attack the unity and order of the State or advocate the overthrow or destabilization of the democratically elected Government of another Party.

In addition, they reiterate their obligation to prevent the use of their territory to organize or carry out armed actions, acts of sabotage, kidnappings or unlawful activities in the territory of another State.

Article 9 . The Parties recognize the importance of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at Guatemala City , Republic of Guatemala , on 29 October 1993 and the special nature of the constitutional provisions and treaties and conventions which confirm the right to asylum and refuge.

TITLE II

SECURITY OF INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR PROPERTY

Article 10 . The Central American Democratic Security Model shall be governed by the following principles in matters relating to this Title:

(a) Democratic security comprises an indivisible whole. A solution to the problems of personal security in the region will thus require a comprehensive and interrelated view of all aspects of sustainable development in Central America in its political, economic, social, cultural and ecological dimensions;

(b) Democratic security is inseparable from the human dimension. Respect for the essential dignity of individuals, improvement of their quality of life and full development of their potential are prerequisites for security in all its aspects;

(c) Humanitarian aid provided in solidarity in response to emergencies, threats and natural disasters; and,

(d) Consideration of poverty and extreme poverty as threats to the security of the people and the democratic stability of Central American societies.

Article 11 . With the aim of contributing to the consolidation of Central America as a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development, the following objectives are established in this regard:

(a) To guarantee all the people of the region security conditions enabling them to participate in and benefit from national and regional sustainable development strategies through the promotion of a market economy allowing for economic growth with equity;

(b) To establish or strengthen operational coordination machinery for the competent institutions so as to increase the effectiveness of national and regional efforts to combat crime and all threats to democratic security necessitating the use of military, security or civilian police forces, such as terrorism, illicit arms trafficking, drug trafficking and organized crime;

(c) To strengthen cooperation, coordination, harmonization and convergence of policies to promote the security of individuals, as well as border cooperation and the deepening of the social and cultural links between the peoples of Central America; and,

(d) To promote cooperation between States to guarantee legal security in respect of individual property.

Article 12 . The General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System shall be responsible for the organization and management of a Central American Security Index, and shall periodically report thereon to the respective Governments through the Central American Security Commission.

Article 13 . The Parties undertake:

(a) To contribute to the regional promotion of all human rights and of a culture of peace, democracy and integration among all the people of Central America ;

(b) To encourage a contribution by the mass media of the Parties to the aims provided for in the previous paragraph; and

(c) To encourage border development integration projects, in a spirit of Central American solidarity and democratic participation by its people.

Article 14 . The Parties undertake to promote the professionalization and ongoing modernization of their public security forces with the aim of maximizing the scope and effectiveness of crime control and the protection of the rights enshrined in the internal legislation of each country.

They also undertake to launch the Central American Institute for Advanced Police Studies.

Article 15 . The Parties recognize that poverty and extreme poverty undermine human dignity and represent a threat to the security of the people and the democratic stability of Central American societies, and accordingly undertake to give priority to initiatives to overcome the structural causes of poverty and to improve the quality of life of their peoples.

Article 16 . The formulation of national budgets, in accordance with the circumstances of each country, shall be geared towards the social sector in health, education and other areas which contribute to improvements in the quality of life of the individual as well as of the most vulnerable segments of society.

Article 17 . The Parties shall promote cooperation for the eradication of drug trafficking and illegal trafficking in precursors and related offences, in accordance with any relevant international, regional and subregional agreements to which they are parties or to which they might accede, in particular the Agreement establishing the Permanent Central American Commission for the Eradication of the Illicit Production, Traffic, Consumption and Use of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. To this end they shall establish flexible and effective mechanisms for communication and cooperation among the competent authorities.

Article 18 . The Parties undertake to prevent and combat all criminal activities having a regional or international impact, without exception, such as terrorism, sabotage and organized crime, and to prevent by all means within their territory the planning, preparation and execution of such activities.

To this end they shall strengthen cooperation and encourage the exchange of information among immigration and police agencies and other competent authorities.

Article 19 . The Parties shall endeavour to initiate, if they have not already done so, the necessary formalities for approving, ratifying or acceding to the following international conventions:

(a) The 1963 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft;

(b) The 1971 Convention to prevent and punish acts of terrorism taking the form of crimes against persons and related extortion that are of international significance;

(c) The 1971 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation;

(d) The 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents; and

(e) The 1979 International Convention against the Taking of Hostages.

Article 20 . The Parties undertake to take measures to combat activities by organized gangs engaged in internationally significant trafficking in persons in the region with the aim of finding comprehensive solutions to this problem.

Article 21 . The Parties undertake to make all necessary efforts and to promote cooperation to guarantee protection of the consumer, the environment and the Central American cultural heritage, in accordance with any relevant international and regional agreements to which they are parties or to which they might accede, in particular the Agreement establishing the Central American Commission on Environment and Development. To this end they shall establish flexible and effective mechanisms for communication and cooperation in that regard among the competent authorities.

Article 22 . The Parties recognize that effective cooperation in these areas requires them to initiate, if they have not already done so, the necessary formalities for approving, ratifying or acceding to international and regional conventions on the protection of the environment and cultural heritage.

Article 23 . The Parties reaffirm their desire to reintegrate their refugee, displaced and uprooted populations returning voluntarily and peacefully to their respective territories so that they may have equal opportunities to enjoy all their rights and improve their quality of life, taking into account the internal situation of each State.

Article 24 . The Parties undertake to adopt joint positions and strategies for the self-defence of their respective compatriots abroad in response to measures aimed at the repatriation or expulsion of their emigrant compatriots.

Article 25 . The Security Commission, on the basis of proposals from competent regional organs and in coordination with them, shall formulate and submit recommendations to the respective sectoral and intersectoral councils on the following matters, inter alia :

(a) Strengthening of internal controls at their respective borders, ports and airports and in their airspace and territorial seas to allow detection of illegal trafficking in cultural property and facilitate its recovery, and to detect illicit trafficking in wood and species of flora and fauna; trafficking in and handling of toxic waste and hazardous substances; drug trafficking and related offences, in particular illegal trafficking in precursors and the laundering of money and other assets; and hijacking of vehicles, ships and aircraft, without prejudice to regional machinery for the prevention and punishment of such offences;

(b) Establishment of criminal acts and harmonization and modernization of legislation on protection of the consumer, the environment and cultural heritage and other areas requiring such protection, with a view to attaining common security standards;

(c) Conclusion of agreements on matters covered by this Title; and,

(d) Promotion of cooperation and coordination between the courts and prosecuting authorities of the Parties, with a view to streamlining their activities in order to strengthen crime control.

 

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