Regional Meeting on Transnational Organized Crime Units (TOCUs)
(30 November - 1 December 2010)
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Regional Office for Eastern Africa in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Eastern African Police Chiefs Organization (EAPCCO) and INTERPOL held a "Regional Meeting of Heads of Police on the Establishment of Transnational Organized Crime Units (TOCUs)" from 30 November to 1 December 2010 at the UN in Nairobi. The Meeting was attended by delegates from 11 Eastern African countries, including Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. The Director of the Serious Crime Coordination, Sierra Leone was also invited to share the West African experience on TOCUs.
The establishment of TOCUs was identified by experts at a Regional Meeting on "Promoting the Rule of Law and Human Security in Eastern Africa", held in Nairobi in November 2009, as an urgent priority for countries in the region to enhance international and cross-border cooperation to counter illicit trafficking and other forms of organized crime. TOCUs are investigative law enforcement units with capacity to investigate criminal activity at the transnational level. Their characteristics are domestic inter-agency coordination, international cooperation at the operational level and a focus on intelligence-led policing.
During her opening address Ms. Loide Lungameni, UNODC Representative, Regional Office for Eastern Africa, underscored the importance of international cooperation among law enforcement agencies in the region in the fight against transnational organized crime, including joint investigations, which may be conducted through bilateral or multilateral arrangements, or in the absence of such agreements or arrangements, on a case-by-case basis.
In his opening remarks Mr. Awad Dahia, Head, INTERPOL Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa, emphasized the benefits of TOCUs in the fight against organized crime and the unique role INTERPOL can play in this process.
Experts from UNODC, INTERPOL and the Police of Sierra Leone made presentations on the importance and benefits of TOCUs and how they could facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation against transnational crime between police agencies in Eastern Africa. Delegates discussed threats posed by organized crime, such as illicit trafficking in drugs, wildlife, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, kidnapping and piracy; modalities for enhancing cross border and international cooperation; and reviewed the concept of Transnational Organized Crime Units (TOCUs).
At the conclusion of the Meeting, the delegates expressed unanimous desire to strengthen coordination in the fight against transnational organized crime and agreed that the creation of TOCUs is an important step for achieving this.