Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America (1995)Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
December 15, 1995
The Governments of the Republic of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, hereinafter referred to as "The Parties,"
That the basic goal of the Central American Integration System and of the Alliance for Sustainable Development is to integrate Central America so that it will be consolidated as a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development;
That the goals of the Central Integration System, which were established in the Tegucigalpa Protocol, are to achieve the sustainable development of Central America, which entails implementing a New Regional Security Model, which is unique, comprehensive and indivisible, based on the progress made in the region's intensive process of pacification and integration;
That the countries of Central America have reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, based on a government of laws and the guarantee of basic freedoms, economic freedom, social justice, and the strengthening of a community of democratic values among the countries, which are joined together by ties of history, geography, brotherhood and cooperation;
That the sustainable development of Central America can only be achieved by establishing a regional legal community that will protect, ensure and promote human rights and guarantee security under law, and will ensure peaceful relations and integration among the countries of the region;
That any situations that breach the peace and affect the security of any Central American countries also affect all the countries of the region and their inhabitants;
That agreement on the goals of democratic consolidation is not incompatible with recognition of the special characteristics of each country in the region, which includes the special status of those countries that have decided on the elimination or constitutional permanence of their armed forces;
That in recent years, as peace and democracy have been consolidated, the countries of Central America have made important progress in attaining these goals by demobilizing and reducing military forces and budgets, separating police functions from national defense functions, eliminating compulsory military service, and where necessary, adopting policies on impunity, terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as the growing professionalism of the public security institutions, among other things;
That the Central American Democratic Security Model is based on the supremacy and strengthening of civil power, the reasonable balance of forces, the security of persons and of their property, the elimination of poverty and extreme poverty, the promotion of sustainable development, the protection of the environment, the elimination of violence, corruption, impunity, terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms trafficking. Also, the Central American Security Model will increasingly devote resources to social investments;
That it is essential, for attaining the goals and principles set forth herein, to continue the efforts mentioned and to adopt a model legal instrument for comprehensive achievement of all aspects of the New Democratic Security Model that will ensure the permanence of the gains made;
Agree to sign this Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America, as an instrument to complement the Tegucigalpa Protocol.
GOVERNMENT OF LAWS
Article 1. The Central American Democratic Security Model is based on democracy and the strengthening of its institutions and a government of laws; on governments elected by universal, free and secret suffrage and unconditional respect for human rights in the countries of the Central American region.
The Central American Democratic Security Model has its raison d'être in respect for, promotion of and safeguarding of all human rights, so that its provisions ensure the security of the Central American countries and their inhabitants, by creating conditions that permit their personal, family and social development in peace, freedom and democracy. It is based on strengthening civil power, political pluralism, economic freedom, the elimination of poverty and extreme poverty, the promotion of sustainable development, the protection of the consumer, the environment and the cultural heritage; the elimination of violence, corruption, impunity, terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms trafficking; the establishment of a reasonable balance of forces that will take into consideration the domestic situation of each country and need for cooperation among all Central American countries to ensure their security.
Article 2. The Central American Democratic Security Model shall be governed by the following principles relating to this topic:
Article 3. To ensure the security of the individual, the Parties undertake to see to it that all actions taken by the public authorities are consistent with their legal system and fully respect international human rights instruments.
Article 4. Each of the Parties shall establish and maintain at all times effective control over their military and public security forces by their constitutionally established civil authorities; shall see to it that those authorities fulfill their responsibilities within this framework and shall clearly define the doctrine, missions and functions of those forces and their obligation to act solely in this context.
Article 5. Public and private corruption is a threat to democracy and the security of the people and of the countries of the Central American region. The Parties undertake to make every effort to eliminate all forms of them at all levels.
In this connection, the meeting of the State comptroller entities of each Party shall assist the Security Commission in the design, establishment and implementation of regional programs and projects to modernize and harmonize legislative, investigative, educational and corruption preventive measures.
Article 6. The Parties shall make every effort to eliminate the impunity of criminals. The Security Commission shall make contact with the institutions and officials connected with this problem in order to help develop programs to harmonize and modernize the criminal justice systems of Central America.
Article 7. The Parties recognize the importance of having their public authorities, military forces and public security forces conduct their activities in accordance with the principles and recommendations in the following resolutions of the General Assembly and the United Nations:
As well as the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Fire Arms by Officials Responsible for Enforcing the Law, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Delinquents.
Article 8. To strengthen democracy, the Parties reaffirm their obligation to refrain from providing political, military, financial or any other support to individuals, groups, irregular forces or armed bands that threaten the unity and order of the State or that advocate the overthrow or destabilization of the democratically elected government of any other of the Parties.
Moreover, they reiterate their obligation to prevent the use of their territory for organizing or conducting military actions, acts of sabotage, kidnapping or criminal activities in the territory of another country.
Article 9. The Parties recognize the importance of the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed in Guatemala City, the Republic of Guatemala, on October 29, 1993, and the special nature of any constitutional provisions and any treaties and conventions that stipulate the right of asylum or sanctuary.
SECURITY OF PERSONS AND THEIR PROPERTY
Article 10. The Central American Democratic Security Model shall be governed by the following principles in connection with this Title:
Article 11. To contribute to the consolidation of Central America as a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development, the following objectives are established:
Article 12. The General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System shall be in charge of organizing and managing a Central American Security Index and shall from time to time make progress reports on it to the governments concerned, through the Security Commission of Central America.
Article 13. The Parties undertake to:
Article 14. The Parties undertake to promote ongoing professional training and modernization of their public security forces to enable them to conduct the broadest and most effective campaign against criminal activity and protect the rights embodied in the domestic laws of each country.
Also, they undertake to put into operation the Central American Institute of Advanced Police Studies.
Article 15. The Parties recognize that poverty and extreme poverty damage human dignity and are a threat to the security of the people and to the democratic stability of the societies of Central America, and to that end, they undertake to give priority to efforts to overcome the structural causes of poverty and improve the quality of life of the people.
Article 16. Tailoring the national budgets to the reality in each country shall be aimed at benefitting the social sector in health, education and other fields that help to improve the quality of life of the people, particularly the most deprived classes of society.
Article 17. The Parties undertake to cooperate in eradicating drug trafficking and the unlawful trade in precursors and related crimes, pursuant to international, regional and subregional agreements to which they are Parties or any agreements they have concluded on these topics, particularly the Agreement Establishing the Permanent Central American Commission for the Eradication, Production, Trafficking in, Consumption and Illicit Use of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances. To this end, they shall set up streamlined and effective mechanisms for communication and cooperation among officials responsible for this work.
Article 18. The Parties undertake to prevent and combat every kind of criminal activity having regional or international impact, without any exception, such as terrorism, sabotage, and organized crime, and to prevent by every means the planning, preparation and conduct of such activities within their territory.
To that end, they shall strengthen cooperation and shall promote the exchange of information among the agencies responsible for migration control, the police and other competent officials.
Article 19. The Parties shall endeavor, if they have not already done so, to initiate the necessary proceedings to approve, ratify or accede to the following international agreements:
Article 20. The Parties undertake to take steps to combat the activities of organized gangs trafficking in persons when such crimes are of international transcendence in the region, in order to seek comprehensive solutions to this problem.
Article 21. The Parties undertake to make every effort to promote cooperation to ensure protection of the consumer, the environment, and the cultural heritage of Central America, pursuant to any international and regional agreements to which they are Parties or any they have signed on these topics, particularly the Agreement Establishing the Central American Commission on the Environment and Development. To that end, they shall establish streamlined and effective mechanisms for communication and cooperation among officials working in these areas.
Article 22. The Parties recognize that for effective cooperation in these areas, it is essential, in the event this has not yet been done, to initiate the necessary proceedings to approve, ratify or accede to international and regional agreements on protection of the environment and the cultural heritage.
Article 23. The Parties reaffirm their resolve to appropriately reintegrate into society refugees, displaced persons and uprooted persons who return voluntarily and peacefully to their territories, so that such persons can enjoy all of their rights and improve their quality of life on an equal footing with others, taking into consideration the domestic situation prevailing in each country.
Article 24. The Parties undertake to take positions and adopt joint strategies for defending their nationals abroad who face repatriation or expulsion.
Article 25. The Security Commission, based on any proposals it receives from the competent regional organs and in coordination with them, shall formulate and forward to the sectoral or intersectoral councils concerned recommendations on the following topics, among others:
Article 26. The Central American Democratic Security Model shall be governed by the following principles, in connection with this heading:
Article 27. The following are additional goals of the Model regarding this topic:
Article 28. Without prejudice to the Annual Program of Confidence Building Activities, which the Security Commission should prepare and carry out, the Parties, pursuant to any treaties to which they are Parties, undertake to:
Article 29. In the event of unforeseen military operations to deal with immediate security threats, the State that undertakes such operations must report on them as soon as possible, pursuant to the provisions of the previous article.
Article 30. The Parties undertake to combat unlawful trafficking in military weapons, material and equipment, as well as small arms for personal protection. To that end, they undertake also to establish specific, modern and standardized regulations within their national jurisdictions.
Article 31. When a situation of unlawful weapons trafficking cannot be resolved within the framework of national legal procedures, the State or States involved shall endeavor to solve the problem by means of communication and cooperation among their competent officials.
Article 32. The Parties undertake to continue their efforts to limit and control armaments, by means of a reasonable balance of forces, in accordance with the internal and external situation in each country.
Article 33. The reasonable balance and the adjustment of military forces and budgets to achieve it shall take into consideration the constitutional provisions of each Party and their defense needs, in light of such basic factors as relevant geographic conditions and borders, and the presence of foreign military forces or advisers, among others.
Article 34. The Parties undertake to refrain from acquiring, maintaining or permitting the stationing in or transit through their territories of weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction, including chemical, radiological and bacteriological weapons. The Parties likewise undertake not to construct or to allow anyone to construct in their territories, facilities to manufacture or store such weapons.
The Parties recognize the effectiveness of the Treaty on the Permanent Neutrality of the Panama Canal and on the operation of the Canal, as States acceding to the Protocol of the Treaty, which guarantees at all times peaceful and uninterrupted transit of the ships of all countries through the Canal.
Article 35. In order to achieve effective control of armaments, the Parties undertake the following:
Article 36. Regarding any information requested pursuant to the previous Article, each Party may request in the Security Commission from any other Party such explanations as it deems necessary, for sixty days following submission of such information. The Parties undertake to provide the explanations requested, within sixty days following the date of such requests.
Article 37. The Security Commission shall set up a standardized registry for weapons, explosives and equipments used solely by the armed forces or the public security forces; this registry must be updated with information the Parties undertake to provide continually.
Article 38. The Parties undertake to submit, to each other and pursuant to any Treaties to which they may be parties, in the Security Commission in the first half of each year, a report on any foreign military personnel and advisers that take part in military or public security activities in their territory. Likewise, they shall keep a registry of such advisers as perform technical duties connected with training or installation and maintenance of military equipment, and they shall provide a copy of such registry to the Security Commission.
The registry shall be kept in accordance with any regulations the Security Commission decides upon, which may also set reasonable limits on the number of advisers of all military public and security categories and specialties, taking into account the internal situations and requirements of each Party.
Article 39. If any military incidents occur between two or more of the Parties, the ministers of foreign affairs must immediately establish contact to review the situation, avoid any increase in tensions, cease any military activity, and prevent further incidents.
Article 40. In the event that direct channels of communication are not sufficient to achieve the objectives described in the preceding article, any of the Parties may ask that a meeting of the Security Commission or of the Council of Foreign Ministers be called, if deemed necessary. If so, the Chair of the Council of Ministers shall make the necessary consultations with member countries and may call a meeting of the Security Commission beforehand to obtain its recommendations.
Article 41. The Meeting of Presidents, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Security Commission shall reach decisions by consensus on all matters concerning the peace and security of the region.
Article 42. Any armed aggression, or threat of armed aggression, by a state outside the region against the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of a Central American state shall be considered an act of aggression against the other Central American states.
In any event, the Central American countries, at the request of the state attacked, shall act jointly and in solidarity to ensure in international fora and agencies the legal political defense, through diplomatic channels, of the Central American state attacked.
Article 43. In the event of armed aggression, after exhausting all avenues of reconciliation and peaceful settlement of disputes, the Central American states, shall, if possible, undertake, at the request of the attacked state, to ensure, through such measures and procedures as may be decided upon by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the constitutional provisions of the states concerned, the United Nations Charter, the Charter of the Organization of American States, and any treaties to which the states concerned may be parties.
The Council of Ministers shall set up an ad hoc operational organization to plan and coordinate in compliance with the commitments contained in this article, as well as operational support in the area of solidary cooperation to deal with emergencies, threats and disasters.
Article 44. In the event of any external armed conflict and in order to preserve the guaranties and rights of their people, the Parties undertake to comply fully with the rules and principles of international human rights law.
Article 45. Without affecting the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of American States on the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Parties reaffirm their obligation to settle any dispute that arises that might endanger the peace and security of the region, through negotiation, investigation, mediation, reconciliation, arbitration, court settlement or any other peaceful means of dispute settlement.
Article 46. The Parties reaffirm their obligations assumed in the Treaty of Tlatelolco to Ban Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, of February 14, 1967, and the importance of initiating, if they have not already done so, the necessary steps to approve, ratify or accede to the following international conventions:
ORGANIZATION AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION
Article 47. The following are the decision-making bodies of the Democratic Security Model in Central America:
The sectoral and intersectoral Councils shall establish the necessary coordination with the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, to which they shall report on all of their agreements and resolutions on security matters.
In this context, the ministers of defense and security or their equivalents, shall advise and assist the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, on topics relating to the Council's operation, within the areas of their competence.
The Advisory Committee established by the Tegucigalpa Protocol may transmit, through the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System, its opinions to the Security Commission on matters covered in this Treaty, concerning the security of persons and their property.
Article 48. The Meeting of Presidents is the highest decision-making body of this Model and is responsible for dealing with regional and international security matters that might require its decisions pursuant to the provisions of the Tegucigalpa Protocol.
Article 49. The Council of Foreign Ministers is the decision-making body responsible for all matters concerning regional and international security, in its capacity as the principal coordinating organ of the Central American Integration System.
Article 50. The Security Commission is a subsidiary decision-making body for execution, coordination, evaluation and follow-up, and for drafting proposals and recommendations on early warning, and where appropriate, taking prompt action, and is subordinate to the Meeting of Presidents and to the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
Article 51. The Security Commission is composed of delegations of the Central American States whose members are Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Vice Ministers or the responsible officials in the areas of Defense and Public Security. The Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall head the delegations of each state.
Article 52. The Security Commission shall have the following responsibilities or duties:
Article 53. For the better performance of its duties, the Security Commission may organize its work into sectoral subcommittees, which may be on defense, public security, legal or intersectoral matters.
Article 54. The General Secretariat of the Central American System shall provide technical and administrative secretariat services, at meetings of the Security Commission and its subcommittees.
Article 55. The Security Commission shall regularly meet as often as its members decide and shall hold special meetings when so decided by the Meeting of Presidents or the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs or when requested by one or more of its members to review an urgent matter. All members must be present to constitute a quorum for its meetings.
Article 56. If the Security Commission fails to reach a consensus, the chair is authorized to submit the topic to the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for decision.
Article 57. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in its capacity as the principal coordinating organ of the Central American Integration System, shall be responsible for adopting and recommending to the Meeting of Presidents any measures on prevention, crisis management, or dispute settlement it deems necessary to deal with situations of any kind that, in the judgment of the governments or the competent organs of the Central American Security System, constitute a potential threat to the security of the states and their people.
Article 58. The governments, through their ministries of foreign affairs, shall submit the situations indicated in the previous article to the Security Commission for review. They may also submit them directly to the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The organs, institutions and secretariats of the Central American Integration System shall, through its General Secretariat, call the attention of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to any situation indicated in the previous article.
Article 59. Without affecting the Annual Program of Confidence-Building Activities, which the Security Commission is to draft and implement, the Parties undertake to:
Article 60. The Central American Mechanism on Information and Communication for Security shall be composed of:
Article 61. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall see to the enforcement of provisions and the compliance with the obligations set forth in this Treaty.
For these purposes, the Security Commission shall inform the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs about the following items in particular:
Article 62. The investigations shall be conducted by the Security Commission or by any ad hoc collegiate body of experts that it may designate and deem the most appropriate for the purpose. The investigations shall be conducted through on site inspections, collection of data, conduct of laboratory technical tests, and any other procedure that it deems necessary for objective verification of the facts.
Article 63. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall be the organ charged with coordinating the efforts of the region as a whole with initiatives undertaken in the struggle against threats to democratic security in the Hemisphere and elsewhere in the world, and to that end, shall be the organ responsible for preparing positions and concluding cooperation agreements or conventions with institutions or bodies charged with maintaining international peace and security, except for any preestablished commitments of each State Party with the international community.
Article 64. The Central American Democratic Security Model is part of the Central American Integration System, and its contents complements the provisions of the Tegucigalpa Protocol, to which this Treaty is subordinated.
Article 65. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall inform the United Nations and the Organization of American States of all arrangements or decisions having to do with peace and security in the region when knowledge about them is considered important for the organs responsible for security at the Hemisphere and global level.
Article 66. No provision of this Treaty shall be interpreted as being contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, the Charter of the Organization of American States, or the Tegucigalpa Protocol.
Article 67. Any dispute as to the application or interpretation of this Treaty shall be submitted to the Meeting of Presidents for settlement, and if such dispute is not resolved, the means of peaceful settlement provided for in Article 45 shall be employed, and, if necessary, said dispute shall be submitted to the Central American Court of Justice for judgment.
Article 68. This Treaty is open to reservations.
Article 69. This Treaty shall be ratified by each signatory state, in accordance with their constitutions. This Treaty and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Central American Integration System.
Article 70. This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely and shall enter into force one week after the third instrument of ratification is deposited for the first three depositing states, and on the date of deposit of their ratification instruments for all other states.
Article 71. Five years after this Treaty has entered into force, and at the request of the States Parties, either before or after that, the Security Commission shall call a meeting of all the Parties to evaluate and decide on any amendments they may deem necessary. Such amendments shall be submitted to the Meeting of Presidents for consideration, through the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
Article 72. Denunciations to this Treaty shall be reported to the depository, which shall notify the Parties thereof. Such denunciations shall take effect one year after the date of their notification; however, the provisions of this Treaty shall continue to apply to those regional projects or actions already under way until such projects or actions are completed. This Treaty shall remain in force so long as at least three of the States Parties are bound by it.
Article 73. The provisions of this Treaty shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with their letter and spirit in light of the Tegucigalpa Protocol and the rules of international law.
Article 74. The General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System shall, upon entry into force of this Treaty, send a certified copy of it to the General Secretariat of the United Nations, for the purposes of Article 102, paragraph 2 of the UN Charter, and to the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
Article 75. The Republics of Costa Rica and Panama sign this Treaty with express reservations with regard to the following Articles: 26 subparagraphs g and h; 27 subparagraphs a, b, c; 28; 29; 32; 33; 35; 36; 37; 38; 42 and 43.
Article 76. Until this Treaty enters into force, the Security Commission shall continue to operate pursuant to the mandates received from the Meeting of Presidents and any that may be received from the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and shall respect the purpose of this Treaty.
Article 77. The Parties shall increase their efforts to obtain any technical and financial assistance that may help to clear mine fields in the region, pursuant to any international, regional, and subregional agreements to which they may be Party and any they may conclude on this subject.
Article 78. This Treaty replaces any rules on security or defense matters contained and embodied in the Charter of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA) and any additional agreements that may have been adopted at the regional level for developing it.
IN WITNESS THEREOF, the undersigned sign this Treaty in seven original identical copies, in the city of San Pedro Sula, Department of Cortés, Republic of Honduras, on the fifteenth day of December nineteen hundred and ninety-five.
[See related fact sheet: The Central American Democratic Security Treaty]