Impunity - Santo Domingo declaration of Principles

WHEREAS The Inter American Press Association as part of its Anti-Impunity Project held the Hemisphere Conference on The Judiciary, The Press and Impunity in the Dominican Republic July 18-20 this year WHEREAS taking part were 24 jurists, 12 of them Supreme Court chief justices and 12 other members of Supreme Courts, and nearly 200 other attendees, among them judges, attorneys, newspaper editors and publishers from various countries, international experts, reporters and IAPA members WHEREAS the Declaration declares that it is resolved “... to energetically repudiate violence when it is carried out in order to impede the exercise of press freedom and freedom of expression and to obstruct the administration of justice...” WHEREAS it seeks “... to encourage among the branches of government of the various countries at all levels the employment of international and inter-American instruments that contain conceptual and regulatory tools to effectively punish those that threaten freedom of expression and seek to obstruct justice, without prejudice to the independence of judges” WHEREAS it considers “... creating opportunities for the discussion, with specialists and members of society, of the possibility of bringing about legal reforms that would provide for more effectively bringing to trial and convicting those responsible for threatening freedom of expression, in particular, when appropriate, recommending the implementation of the new criminal proceedings model” WHEREAS it states “... to promote national and regional forums and seminars for members of the press and the judiciary, with the aim of creating opportunities for reciprocal awareness, mutual understanding and dialogue on the culture of legality and the value of freedom of expression, and undertaking public awareness campaigns on these issues” THE IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to thank the judicial branches of government of all the countries of the Americas for having contributed with this conference in the drawing up of the Declaration and having created awareness on the need to safeguard press freedom and freedom of expression and to strengthen guarantees for the work of the press and the administration of justice as essential elements of democracy to encourage the legislative branches in the region to create a suitable legal framework to combat impunity surrounding crimes against journalists and against those persons exercising the right to freedom of expression to urge the representatives of the various branches of government and of professional journalist and news media associations to hold discussion forums on the culture of legality and press freedom and freedom of expression to ask IAPA members to disseminate this Declaration and other documents related to the Anti-Impunity Project more widely among those who administer justice in their respective countries.