CRIMJUST, the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP) and the UNODC Project “Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria” delivered a three-day joint workshop in Lagos, Nigeria, on 16-18 July 2018. Thirty participants from Ghanaian, Liberian and Nigerian criminal justice agencies discussed good practices to increase the efficiency of investigations and prosecutions on complex drug trafficking and organised crime cases.
During the opening remarks, Mr. Marco Teixeira, Global Coordinator of CRIMJUST, mentioned the importance of building trust among criminal justice operators to enhance formal and informal cooperation while also improving the investigation and prosecution of complex drug cases.
The aim of this workshop was two-fold. During the first days of the training, participants, of which 20% were women, were given the opportunity to discuss both obstacles and good practices they identified in the investigation and prosecution of transnational drug trafficking and organised crime cases, with a focus on regional and inter-regional cooperation. This training also allowed them to increase their knowledge of the judicial system, and national and international legislative frameworks. Finally, the participants explored opportunities for technical assistance and capacity-building, and agreed on the following recommendations related to different topics:
• Sharing of information on seizures, modus operandi, cases and successful prosecutions with colleagues in the region and UNODC (e.g. for upload on SHERLOC) was encouraged.
• Engagement of political stakeholders for legal amendments: participants acknowledged that it was crucial to continue engaging high-level policy makers to support the interpretation/development of relevant laws and to obtain political support for the fight against organised crime.
• Early engagement of prosecutors was deemed essential to support the investigation development.
• Awareness-raising on the existing legal frameworks covering the investigation and prosecution of transnational organised crime.
• Measures to increase the efficiency of investigations and prosecutions, including staff retention, capacity building, the use of all international legal instruments, including Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and other forms of international cooperation, regional networks such as WACAP and interregional initiatives such as CRIMJUST to facilitate informal collaboration as well as measures to enhance inter-agency cooperation and to strengthen Central Authorities.
UNODC is committed to support future specialised technical assistance on practical and technical levels addressing the country gaps identified during this workshop.