WASHINGTON, USA -- The Committee of Experts of the Mechanism to Follow Up on Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday began its 21st meeting, which will take place until March 22 at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, with an agenda that includes the approval of reports on Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras, and a discussion on the responsibility of the private sector in the fight against corruption.
The secretary for legal affairs of the OAS, Jean Michel Arrighi, said the MESICIC process "is doubly successful, because it was born of an agreement in which all OAS member states were able to establish the Convention against Corruption, which regulates issues of the highest sensitivity, and also managed to create a monitoring mechanism whereby countries mutually evaluate each other, in an environment in which, without regard to ideological differences, we have the greatest cooperation and best results."
"In this round reports from five countries will be considered; progress in implementing previous recommendations will be reviewed; issues that are of concern to all countries will be discussed; as will the responsibility of the private sector in the fight against corruption and the promotion of citizen participation in transparency and the fight against corruption," said Arrighi, who spoke on behalf of the secretary general of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza.
The five country/reports that are expected to be approved by the committee will be added to those reports that were adopted last September as part of this fourth round regarding Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay. The reports are prepared by a committee comprising representatives of two member states who visit a third country accompanied by officials of the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS, which serves as secretariat for the mechanism. During “on site” visits, which always have the consent of the host country, the Commission maintains contacts with political and social actors in the country to carry out its task.
In this regard, the director of the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS, Jorge García González, emphasized the "successful progress we made in the first on site visits" of the fourth round and announced that the committee is already making progress in organizing subsequent visits to Colombia, Chile and Uruguay, which will take place in a few weeks, and later to Guatemala and Panama.
The meeting of the Committee of Experts this week is chaired by the delegate from Peru, Susana Silva Hasemback, who occupied until now the vice chair of the committee, and became chair with the resignation of the delegate of Colombia. The meeting will elect a new vice chair.
The MESICIC is an inter-governmental body established within the framework of the OAS. It supports the states parties in the implementation of the provisions of the convention through a process of reciprocal evaluation, based on conditions of equality among the states. In this mechanism, recommendations are formulated with respect to those areas in which there are legal gaps or in which further progress is necessary.
The MESICIC is part of the framework of the purposes established by the charter of the OAS. It takes into account the principles of sovereignty, non-intervention, and juridical equality of the states. The MESICIC is impartial and objective in its operations; it neither sanctions, grades, nor classifies the states, rather it facilitates cooperation between them. The MESICIC seeks to establish an adequate balance between confidentiality and transparency in its activities. In addition, although it is inter-governmental in nature, it may receive contributions from civil society organizations. In this regard, several civil society representatives presented on Monday their contributions to the meeting of the expert committee before the opening session of the event.