3rd meeting of the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network

14 Nov 2018

3rd meeting of the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network

Third meeting of the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network

Kampala, 13 November 2018 - The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (ONODC) held their 3rd meeting of the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network in Kampala, Uganda, on 12-13 November 2018. The meeting focused on crimes related to the exploitation of natural resources and to wildlife management.

The Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network is a tool to connect national focal points on judicial cooperation and to facilitate access to legislation and statistics. Crime within the Great Lakes region often has a cross-border element. The cross-border element of crimes cannot make successful investigation and prosecution so long as the countries of the region do not work together effectively. This impunity continues to fuel the cycles of violence, instability and displacement, and threatens sustainable peace, security and long-term prosperity in the region.

The proposed objectives of the meeting are: to encourage good regional practices and clearly identify what the network could do to support cooperation between authorities and to enhance the prosecution of cases related to wildlife management as well as to establish good practices in tracing and confiscating the proceeds of illicit trafficking; to assess progress made in addressing concrete trans-border judicial cases identified at the June 2018 meeting in Dar es Salaam and agree on steps forward to address remaining challenges, with a focus on wildlife and natural resources related cases; and to accelerate and support efforts of the ICGLR countries to fight against impunity for transnational crimes as well as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide through the operationalisation of technical tools that facilitate judicial cooperation.

Participants at the meeting included representatives from the ICGLR member states and the ICGLR Executive Secretariat, members of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, African Wildlife Foundation, Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, as well as UN representatives, members of the diplomatic community and a select number of civil society organizations.

Since its establishment, the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network held two meetings: one in Khartoum, Sudan, on 1-2 November 2017; and the other in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 13-14 June 2018. The two meetings attended by representatives of Directors of Public Prosecution of the ICGLR countries further consolidated the role of the focal points for judicial cooperation and identified concrete actions, including addressing specific cases for cross-border judicial cooperation. The meetings also agreed that for the network to be fully operational, it needs to be dynamic, have permanent designated focal points and be equipped with adequate resources.