Today marks the completion of Phase I training of Project Diamante in Mexico City. Project Diamante is a comprehensive, capacity-building effort developed by professionals of the Department of Justice to reform and modernize Mexico’s criminal justice system. Since 2009, the Department of Justice has provided major technical assistance to Mexico through the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development and Training (OPDAT) and the International Criminal Investigative Training Program (ICITAP) as Mexico strives to strengthen local efforts in the investigation of complex crimes. As part of these programs, our experts, including from the Criminal Division’s Office of Enforcement Operations and Office of International Affairs, have instructed their Mexican counterparts in a variety of critical areas, including criminal procedure code reform, forensic training, drafting of witness protection legislation, investigative techniques, extradition and mutual legal assistance, organizational development, human trafficking, and intellectual property rights violations. In addition, since February 2012, experienced instructors have been training hundreds of Mexican prosecutors, investigators, and forensic experts for Project Diamante. This collaboration represents a truly historic effort bringing together American and Mexican officials to assist the Latin American nation as it continues its planned transition from an inquisitorial criminal justice system to one that is more open and adversarial. Project Diamante’s curriculum aims to lay a solid foundation for building – and maintaining – more robust legal institutions by increasing transparency and improving key skills among members of Mexico’s law enforcement community. As Phase I ends, we look forward to the next phases of this ambitious program, which are designed to institutionalize the training and thereby ensure that future generations of Mexican law enforcement receive this vital foundation. In Phases II and III, Mexico will move toward institutionalizing Project Diamante training in its academies so that its next generation of prosecutors, investigators and forensic experts receives the same training and has the same essential foundation for their important work. On marking the completion of the first class of the Project Diamante initiative, Attorney General Eric Holder said:
“I believe that we can all be encouraged by today’s celebration and the broad-based engagement between our countries. With the personal commitment from the highest levels of my government, we can both confront increasingly complex and cross border issues head on with a renewed sense of cooperation, solidarity and partnership.”Project Diamante is just one of the Justice Department’s many global efforts designed to foster and develop the rule of law among our critical partners around the world. Over the past 25 years, ICITAP and OPDAT have drawn on the department’s resources and our employees’ expertise to strengthen foreign criminal justice sector institutions and enhance the administration of justice abroad. ICITAP and OPDAT programs support the department’s wider law enforcement objectives and priorities by preparing foreign counterparts to cooperate more fully and effectively with the United States in combating terrorism, human trafficking, organized crime, corruption, financial crimes, and other transnational crimes. They achieve these goals by encouraging legislative and justice sector reform in countries with inadequate laws; improving the skills of foreign prosecutors, investigators, forensic experts and judges; and promoting the rule of law and highlighting the importance of human rights.