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Ecuador: Withdrawal from International Arbitration Agency

(Oct. 8, 2009) Ecuador has withdrawn from the International Center for the Settlement of Disputes (ICSID), the international arbitration agency of the World Bank, terminating its membership of 23 years. Executive Decree 1823 of July 2, 2009, was signed by President Rafael Correa to end the commitment of Ecuador to recognize the jurisdiction of the […]

Chile: Ratification of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

(July 6, 2009) On June 29, 2009, Chile deposited with the United Nations its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute, becoming the last South American country to become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This measure achieves one of the most important goals in connection with human rights issues for the government […]

Argentina: Juvenile Criminal Justice Reform

(Apr. 29, 2009) The Committee on Criminal Legislation of the Argentine Congress is currently debating a bill on juvenile criminal justice that would govern the criminal prosecution of children and adolescents between 14 and 18 years of age who commit crimes. At present, children between 14 and 16 years old are subject to a protective […]

Chile: Law on Transparency

(Apr. 29, 2009) On April 20, 2009, the Law on Access to Public Information, also known as the Law on Transparency, became effective (Law No. 20285, DIARIO OFICIAL (Aug. 20, 2008), available at; see also Global Legal Information Network online database, GLIN ID No. 213690, available at The Law provides for free access […]

Andorra, Principality of: Legislation to Lift Bank Secrecy Promised

(Mar. 18, 2009) On March 11, 2009, the head of the government of the Principat d' Andorra signed the “Declaration of the Principat d'Andorra” in Paris, pledging to pass legislation before September 1, 2009, that would lift bank secrecy within the framework of bilateral treaties on exchange of tax information to be signed with other […]

Colombia: Decree Grants Freedom to Guerrillas Who Demobilize and Free Hostages

(Mar. 12, 2009) The Colombian government, on March 3, 2009, issued Decree 614 of February 27, 2009 (DIARIO OFICIAL (Feb. 27, 2009)) which allows the government to seek from the courts the suspension of detention orders for illegal armed groups when the groups demobilize and surrender their hostages. The requirements to qualify for this benefit […]

Spain: Receiving of Guantanamo Detainees Considered

(Mar. 10, 2009) On February 26, 2009, European Union member countries met to evaluate the possibility of resettling terror suspects from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Several prisoners have expressed their willingness to go to Spain. However, a number of legal issues need to be addressed before any commitment is made. Even […]

Bolivia: Constitutional Referendum

(Mar. 2, 2008) On February 28, 2008, the Bolivian Congress, in a vote boycotted by the opposition, approved the holding of a referendum on May 4 on a draft constitution drawn up by supporters of President Evo Morales. The vote surprised government and opposition committees that were negotiating constitutional amendments to reduce the central government's […]

South America: Bank of the South

(Nov. 2, 2007) Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela have agreed to create a regional development bank based on a proposal of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in order to improve regional trade and growth with their own resources. The Presidents of the seven countries inaugurated the Bank of the South (Banco del Sur) […]