Readout of Attorney General Lynch's Visit to Colombia
On her first official visit to Colombia, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch traveled to Bogota to head the U.S. delegation to the Organization of American States REMJA X, the 10th Meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas. While in Colombia, the Attorneys General delivered remarks during the REMJA Head of Delegation Dialogue, and also met with the President of Colombia, and with her counterparts from other countries attending the conference.
The REMJA—a policy and technical forum at the hemispheric level on matters related to justice and international legal cooperation—is attended by Ministers of Justice, other Ministers or Attorneys General from the 34 Organization of American States (OAS) member states. Representatives from the member states have responsibilities in the area of public policy regarding matters of justice and international legal cooperation, especially with regard to criminal matters.
During her remarks, the Attorney General noted that now more than ever has the collaborative work of the OAS member states been necessary.
“As our hemisphere – and our world – grows more interdependent and interconnected than ever before, that kind of collaboration has become increasingly important. The threats that we face are no longer restrained by borders or oceans, or limited to one country or region. And the problems impacting one nation can easily affect us all. From corruption and kleptocracy that causes people to lose confidence in institutions of government, to organized criminal enterprises like human trafficking rings that impact our citizens’ sense of security, we are faced with global challenges that require a truly global response.”
The Attorney General also noted the Justice Department’s establishment of a dedicated kleptocracy force within the FBI as an example of its ongoing efforts to investigate criminals worldwide and “bring down criminal networks that seek to exploit our most vulnerable citizens.”
She also spoke about one of her top priorities – expanding the department’s ability to take on crimes that occur in cyberspace. One such example is the creation of a cyber unit within the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs that is tasked “exclusively on responding to and executing requests for electronic evidence from foreign authorities.”
Additionally, the Attorney General referenced that through the Budapest Convention, the United States and countries around the world are building a strengthened international network to “fight crimes like computer hacking, fraud, and child pornography, and to combat related criminal activity from organized crime to terrorism.”
More generally, the Attorney General emphasized the department’s intention to reinforce and improve its ability to engage efficiently and effectively with its global counterparts to “expand capacity, enhance cooperation, and provide technical assistance in relation to matters from money laundering to terrorism to human trafficking.”
Lastly, while in Colombia, the Attorney General had individual meetings with the following individuals:
Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Colombia’s President
Eduardo Montealegre Lynett, Colombia’s Attorney General
Yesid Reyes Alvarado, Colombia’s Minister of Justice
Arely Gomez, Mexico’s Attorney General
Representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama